Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 19:23:07 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: FOR English Only

What an incredible question. Of course I can (and have). Standard English

is the English spoken in Michigan. If you don't believe it, ask the people

of Michigan.

Dennis Preston


P.S.: One of my nastiest local tricks is to chuckle when Michiganders

speak. When thay ask me what's so damn funny, I say 'They way y'all talk

just tickles the shit out of me' (with my native South Midland phonology,

of course). The range of emotions goes from puzzlement to anger, but

similar comments from Michiganders to 'real' dialect speakers (that is,

speakers of English from practically everywhere else) never raises a local

eyebrow. Fun, huh?

Can anyone really define STANDARD American English? We can't say that

it's what the newscasters use, because they speak on t.v. in a variety of

dialects. To say it's what the grammar books in school use is not

satisfactory because there are many traditionally ungrammatical

structures in the grammar books. So, what is "standard" English?

Ellen S. Polsky (Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Colorado.EDU)