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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Today I went shopping with my mom and, during a talk, used a non-standard form of past tense (for those interested: "żem poszedł" instead of "poszedłem"). Everything went ok until evening, when she told me not to speak in such a "disgusting" manner, because "I sound like a peasant boy and teach my brother speaking that way, and he shouldn't speak like that as later he can write this on some exam and it will be disastrous for him". Then, when I tried to defend non-standard speech, she told me how many times I "shouted" at her when she said something incorrectly - all of these occasions were just jokes, which she told offended her after a couple months. Next we had a loud argument about some other, weakly related stuff, but it's not important. Now I'm wondering and asking you: how on earth can I defend colloquial language to a woman brought up in a prescriptive environment of my grandfather while still regarding the fact my brother's only abilities "for competitions" (don't have a better term) are swimming and "proper" grammar and pronunciation, so he could do really much worse in school without the second one?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:02 am 
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The thing is though when it comes to standard varieties nowadays you're pretty hard-pressed to find people who don't have at least some grasp on it, simply because of the amount of media and/or teaching done in standard varieties in most if not all developed countries. So people who insist on only using "correct grammar" around their children in this day and age shouldn't really be worried at all, because their children will probably 1. know the standard already and 2. be perfectly capable of using the standard in the appropriate contexts. However, this was not so true so long ago, so if parents wanted their children to accrue any kind of social standing from the standard/prestige language they would have had to have made efforts themselves, so any such attitudes today may well be relics of those times.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:46 am 
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The problem is people really tried hard to speak properly during the communist period in Poland and many adults raised in this time have a weird feeling of what is appropriate and good. Do people in other, especially Anglophone countries care less about that as there existed and still exists regional diversification? I think there was such a great amount of dialect levelling here (I remember reading somewhere Polish is probably the most homogeneous official language of a bigger state) adults just feel that any other speech sounds disgusting.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:43 am 
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But the point is that young people are capable of using that variation in the contexts it is suitable for, like they would probably never use those sorts of colloquial forms in say a job interview, so there's no need for people to insist on them using the standard all the time.

As for what happens in other places, well I can't speak for America (though I expect it doesn't play so much of a role) but in the UK there is still a good deal of stigma surrounding regional dialects other than SSE (Standard Southern English, which has effectively replaced RP as the de facto standard of the country).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:00 am 
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Frislander wrote:
But the point is that young people are capable of using that variation in the contexts it is suitable for, like they would probably never use those sorts of colloquial forms in say a job interview, so there's no need for people to insist on them using the standard all the time.


...no offence, but I think you have a deeply naive view of sociocultural relations in the UK, if you think this is true. Young people from other backgrounds generally cannot switch into SSBE for interviews (indeed, attempting to do this is highly criticised from both directions), and this does have a significant impact on their employment prospects. It is easier to standardise grammar and vocabulary, but in practice many young people are unable to reliably do this in conversation, again seriously impacting their employment prospects.

[indeed, this is also true of older people. Look at someone like Alan Shearer, for instance, on TV - he's gained some confidence now, but for years he was stumbling over corrections and hypercorrections to his dialect as he spoke. Now, someone like Shearer, a national legend, can have a high-paying job in media in London even if he can't get control of his "were"s and "was"s and negations and whatnot. But most old Geordies can't. Even the accent is a major social impediment, let alone the grammar and vocabulary issue.]
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As for what happens in other places, well I can't speak for America (though I expect it doesn't play so much of a role) but in the UK there is still a good deal of stigma surrounding regional dialects other than SSE (Standard Southern English, which has effectively replaced RP as the de facto standard of the country).

One difference, I think, in the UK, is that the stigma goes both ways: SSBE speakers automatically look down on speakers of urban English, and speakers of urban English look down probably even more violently on speakers of (posh, pretentious, gay) SSBE. At the same time, speakers of the new patois of urban English (which apparently has grammatically standardised, even while given regional accents) similarly look down on speakers of the various dying rural and urban dialects.

However, in general, yes, it's a universal that there is prescriptivism and a strong pressure to conform to one or more standard language-forms. This is inherent to the concept of language, and can never really be gotten rid of.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:04 pm 
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ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ wrote:
The problem is people really tried hard to speak properly during the communist period in Poland and many adults raised in this time have a weird feeling of what is appropriate and good. Do people in other, especially Anglophone countries care less about that as there existed and still exists regional diversification?

IME, Anglophone countries care plenty about prescriptivism. I know because I quite intentionally use a lot of non-standard features and peoples' reactions can be intense.

ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ wrote:
I think there was such a great amount of dialect levelling here (I remember reading somewhere Polish is probably the most homogeneous official language of a bigger state) adults just feel that any other speech sounds disgusting.

I wonder what counts as a "bigger state". Is Portugal (pop. 10.3 million) too small? If so, what's the cutoff?

FWIW, Russophone Russians have told me that there is very little regional variation in their language any longer (probably for much the same reason as in Polish).


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:06 pm 
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ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ wrote:
The problem is people really tried hard to speak properly during the communist period in Poland and many adults raised in this time have a weird feeling of what is appropriate and good. Do people in other, especially Anglophone countries care less about that as there existed and still exists regional diversification? I think there was such a great amount of dialect levelling here (I remember reading somewhere Polish is probably the most homogeneous official language of a bigger state) adults just feel that any other speech sounds disgusting.

There are definitely stigmas attached to certain US dialects, particularly AAVE, Southern American, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Boston, I think. In particular, no matter how intelligent and educated you actually are, many people are going to view you as backwards if you have a Southern accent (the fact that the South really does have the worst educational system in the nation and that most Southern speakers speak much more slowly than speakers of other American English varieties doesn't help the stereotype).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:50 pm 
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ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ wrote:
how on earth can I defend colloquial language to a woman brought up in a prescriptive environment of my grandfather


You don't, you just speak it. The cultural connotations of the various speech registers of different languages are a complex matter, but I'd assume that as a native speaker of your own language you should already have a good grasp of which register is the most appropriate in which situation.

In Finland the reception of dialects has been pretty good in the recent decades and around the turn of the millennium there was even fairly noticeable availability of dialectal literature (things like comics, poetry, a version of the Kalevala in the Savo dialect etc.). This hasn't stopped the disappearance of old dialects, though. The widest divide is between the colloquial varieties and the standard literary Finnish. In the same way that writing in a colloquial register may seem excessively crude, speaking in the literary register gives you a feel of disconnect and, if you aren't reading from a written text, can even make you sound insecure and as if you were trying to hide something. I don't remember there ever having been a time during my life when speaking the standard literary language outside formal settings would have sounded natural. In practice though, there's a continuum between the spoken registers and old dialects and the literary register and people alter their speech to varying extents within it to suit different settings.

Apart from all this, it's still fairly popular to act as a grammar police. Mostly this is about keeping colloquialisms from entering the literary language instead of demanding people to speak it. There's also generous dose of dislike towards some grammatical phenomena. Some years ago the literary language regulator made a big decision of allowing the western dialectal and colloquially incredibly common variant for the complement of the verb alkaa ("to begin") to be used in the literary language.* This usage had been a pet peeve of a huge amount of people and it's fair to say that the decision wasn't universally well received, even though it could have been anticipated for decades.

* The eastern and old literary variant uses the 1st infinitive form -(t/d)A of the complement verb with alkaa while the western variant uses the 3rd infinitive illative -mAAn. Both alkaa tehdä and alkaa tekemään for "to begin to do" are thus found in the spoken language and are now also allowed in literary use.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:28 pm 
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linguoboy wrote:
I wonder what counts as a "bigger state". Is Portugal (pop. 10.3 million) too small? If so, what's the cutoff?

Well, I don't exactly remember that, but I think the author didn't want to count rminor languages which just have too few speakers to be diversified, which I don't think Portuguese belongs to. BTW, is this language quite homogeneous?

linguoboy wrote:
FWIW, Russophone Russians have told me that there is very little regional variation in their language any longer (probably for much the same reason as in Polish).

I remember watching some pre-1989 TV show where people 'tried to be all ą and ę', i.e. spoke very unnaturally, sticking to this what orthography might suggest, and I had to stop watching as I just couldn't listen to their speech.

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ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ wrote:
how on earth can I defend colloquial language to a woman brought up in a prescriptive environment of my grandfather


You don't, you just speak it. The cultural connotations of the various speech registers of different languages are a complex matter, but I'd assume that as a native speaker of your own language you should already have a good grasp of which register is the most appropriate in which situation.

Yeah, I think I have it and she shouldn't be trying me to speak "proper" Polish at home or when I'm invited to a meeting with her friends where they can use vulgar language even before drinking any alcohol, which makes me upset a lot (I'm a scout and I really care about our rules). Also, my younger brother is only 10, so it's true he has a difficulty using different language when writing something and when speaking with friends and family.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Portuguese is pretty heterogeneous.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:34 pm 
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mèþru wrote:
Portuguese is pretty heterogeneous.

Portugal was chosen for its size, not its degree of internal linguistic variation. It's right in the middle among EU countries ranked by population.


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