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English Usage GuidesHistory, Advice, Attitudes$
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Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808206

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808206.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

Usage problems in American English

Usage problems in American English

(p.155) 10 Usage problems in American English
English Usage Guides

Viktorija Kostadinova

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the complexity of attitudes to the usage problems ain’t, literally, and like in American English, from the point of view of both prescriptivist discourse found in usage guides and speakers’ ideas about these usage problems. I argue that the stakes for speakers involved in using certain usage problems are different in different contexts, and that these usage problems merit more serious sociolinguistic attention. I pay particular attention to how the attitudes of speakers towards the usage problems considered in this chapter differ from those expressed in usage guides. One of the conclusions of this analysis is that different usage problems have different social implications for different speakers. Grammatical usage problems in particular seem to be more closely associated with education, although regional and language context sensitivity play a role as well.

Keywords:   usage problems, usage guides, attitudes to usage, prescriptivism, American English, like, literally, ain’t

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