The Pronunciation of Standard English in America

The Pronunciation of Standard English in America

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The Pronunciation of Standard English in America

The Pronunciation of Standard English in America

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Whether one thinks this should or should not be so, it is a fact that most cultivated persons in America nowadays, and an increasing number in England, are more or less self-conscious about their speech. The present very general interest in the practical applications of the science of phonetics is one of the proofs of the truth of this statement. With our strange mingling of races, our widely separated but rapidly inter-communicating local units of population, our constantly shifting social boundaries between class and class, it is inevitable that, in America at least, such should be the case.

When people become conscious of so familiar an activity as speech, it means that changes are taking place in it. The universal possession of all persons in the land, the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned, of farmer, artisan, laborer and merchant, speech is not only the great social solvent which makes the nation one, but also the readiest test by which such differences as exist are measured and known. And where these differences and distinctions arise out of a rapidly developing civilization, as in America, it is often extremely hard to determine their value. If we had but a single standard of speech, universally accepted and practiced, the task undertaken in this book would be easy, though obviously it would be unnecessary. But we have no standard beyond opinion, which in a democratic society must always be many-headed. If therefore in the following pages the . . .

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