Talk:Standard English

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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 27 August 2020 and 18 November 2020. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Rileyhenshaw.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 10:08, 17 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


I disagree with the definition of Standard English you have published because it overlooks the fact that English is spoken outside the UK and does have a set of rules and vocabulary. I would like to submit my own interpretation of the definition: Standard English is English as is taught in schools across the world applying rules for grammer and vocabulary. It is used in schools, working situations, the government, and when speaking with someone of authority.

I removed the "many areas refer to American English" passage because I recently traveled to Italy. Any time somebody spoke English, they were obviously attempting Received Pronunciation (and the better English speakers came pretty close to it.) This leads me to believe that Received Pronunciation is what's taught in the schools of Occidental Countries.

It depends on the country. Received Pronunciation and, more generally, British English vocabulary, spelling, and grammar/usage are taught in most European Union countries, not least because British English is one of the official languages of the EU. American English (with a General American accent) is however the most common variety used in ESL classes in Latin America and, probably, also in Asia (China, Japan, etc.) 17:46, 21 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
You will find good Standard English definitions in Leith, Dick (1997), Knowles, G (1997) or Crystal, D. (2004)Gabrielinguist (talk) 22:25, 14 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]


If the concept of standard English is "fluid" then it doesn't exist. "Standard" implies something that isn't fluid. --Pauldanon 12:14, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

If standard English is to mean anything, it must allow for the fact that the language is spoken outside Britain. Thus, the citation of the BBC as a reference-point isn't helpful. Standard English is, rather, the phenomenon (if such it is) which allows someone in London to read the New York Times and the Times of India without needing a dictionary. It also make possible telephone-conferences between New York, Delhi and London without an interpreter. This would not be possible among German speakers from various parts of the world if they used their dialects. --Pauldanon 12:26, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Opposition" as a source of linguistic change[edit]

The article previously stated:

However, opposition to these three varieties, which are often too closely associated with their countries of origin, has given rise to many local Englishes.

I edited this sentence because frankly, it is patent nonesense. Local varieties of a language arise as a result of many processes and causes, but "opposition" to an association with a particular country is never one of them. In the case of English, the processes that led to the many varieties of the language are clear (linguistic drift after loss of physical continuity with the base population of speakers, etc.). I edited the article accordingly. --Ryanaxp 20:54, May 21, 2005 (UTC)

Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that American English (as we know it now) developed partly from a desire to disaccociate with Britain? Wiki-Ed 18:07, 20 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Developed in what sense? In terms of "coming about", no, it probably had to do with normal linguistic processes that happen when you isolate a group of people and don't maintain heavy ties with them. In terms of being made officially different, perhaps you're correct, but in general linguistic change is about drifting habits, not conscious opposition. --54x 22:11, 11 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

… that is considered the model for educated people.[edit]

I removed this from the first paragraph, put it back, considered a rewrite and ended up leaving it alone. There must be a better way of describing what "Standard English" is, but this is vague and expresses a point of view. I came to this page looking for a definition and only found a few clues. Paul Tracy|\talk 21:47, 27 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I have only ever seen the phrase "standard english" used to distinctify from slang and American english. Of course this can't be publshed on this page (WP:OR) but I find it hard to believe that I have been misled all my life. --The1exile - Talk - Contribs - 17:06, 8 March 2006 (UTC)[reply]

This page is a mess: English is, in fact, spoken outside the U.K. . . .[edit]

This needs a complete rewrite. I'll start tonight. -BrianinStockholm 09:28, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I find it ironic that this page was written using British spelling (e.g. "standardisation", "favoured", "recognised","colonisation", "centre") that would not be considered "standard" in the United States. Yet another evidence that there is no such thing as a single international standard for written English. 17:37, 21 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Maybe you will find the page written in British because Standard English is British by nature. Perhaps you refer to 'international English' or 'global English' Gabrielinguist (talk) 22:33, 14 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]


Spelling mistakes in an article about Standard English. -Qa Plar 17:47 25th June 2006

Spelling errors are Standard in any language! - DavidWBrooks 17:03, 25 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Not in Englosh! 03:34, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Standard English is as described on the previous page, it is a set of norms brought about to set and fix a language. It happens via the processes mentioned. It can be seen as prescriptive if you say someone speaks or writes 'non standard' english, however a standard English is a means of communication to prevent misunderstanding and ambiguity between everyone. It is a necessity.

English Language Student, 18th January 2007


English does not have a governing body (see Académie française, Real Academia Española, Nederlandse Taalunie) to establish usage.

Uhm, Oxford. Jachin 06:05, 2 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

OUP does not govern, define, or prescribe English. It only describes it. English is an evolving language and is not governed. 21:38, 1 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Editing Conflict[edit]

The Wikipedia style manual states that different spelling conventions (American, Canadian, British, etc.) are acceptable in the Wikipedia. However, the style manual also says that: "Each article should have uniform spelling and not a haphazard mix of different spellings, which can be jarring to the reader". A quick look at the "standard English" article reveals that it is written using mostly modern British (en-GB) spelling (e.g. "colonisation", "standardisation", "favoured", "recognised", and "centre"). For the sake of consistency, I edited the article then to change a single occurrence of "realized" (en-US or en-GB-OED spelling) to the now preferred en-GB form "realised". As far as I understand, that is perfectly compatible with and actually recommended under current Wikipedia style guidelines. Nevertheless, user Cultural Freedom seems to think otherwise and reverted the change I had made. I wish he/she could explain me why ! 00:58, 24 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

My apologies. I should have explained. The article was originally written in American English, and I sloppily "returned" your one change to American English, without looking at the larger context of the new "stable" spelling of the article. I can drop this one. The truth is, the whole article needs to be rewritten. (See next.) --Cultural Freedom talk 2007-05-25 01:19 01:19, 25 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

VERY POV[edit]

This article is EXTREMELY POV and either should be deleted, or rewritten without a British bias. First of all, it is written in British English. Second, it states nothing about how the UN actually uses a standard English, which is what some people now call American English. Also, look at my page for a proposal I've made about this whole controversy, because something needs to happen, fast.--PoidLover 16:40, 24 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I agree completely. I'm very busy right now, and am still not certain I won't to get back involved with Wikipedia (there are too many childish, hateful, angry Europeans here), but let's see what we can do. One thing, though, I don't think the fact that the article is written in British English needs to be seen as a problem, but the article certainly needs to talk about American English as another standard! --Cultural Freedom talk 2007-05-25 01:30 01:30, 25 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I too agree completely. I'd term this article biased. It is titled "Standard English" but begins by denigrating the term. David F 18:50, 30 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, though I think "nebulous" is more accurate than "controversial". --Cultural Freedom talk 2007-09-6 18:40 18:40, 6 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]


How do we make this less Anglo-centric? --Cultural Freedom talk 2007-05-25 01:35 01:35, 25 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I'd tend to start with features English tends to have in common among the areas it's used in, (notably Europe, America, and Oceania) like the mostly consistent use of consonants. Mention various local and attempted standards as such, and notable differences in standards. Honestly I think this article could have a good deal of rewriting done to it, although it does have a lot of interesting facts buried in the PoV parts, too. You could probably throw in a bit of talk about attempts to standardise or reform English- (and suddenly my New Zealand spelling strikes me as ironic...) see such movements like the Simplified Spelling Society. --54x 22:30, 11 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
It's time to remove the example of Standard English in the U.K. When we get exs. in Australia, the U.S., etc., then we can leave it in. Fact is, this article needs a complete rewrite. --Cultural Freedom talk 2007-08-17 09:33 09:33, 17 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Seems like we can remove the POV warning. I'll do that now. But there's still a lot of work needed here! --Cultural Freedom talk 2007-08-23 17:25 17:25, 23 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Can anyone produce a reliable source to support the assertion that US English is any less variable than British English? Why is that sentence there at all? I suggest that it is not relevant to the article (which is about the stand English dialect, not a comparison of regional ones) and should be removed. Yo hommie waddup? Y'all wanna chill in Los Angeles bro. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:42, 7 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

It doesn't say AmE is less variable than BrE, it says 'regional variations in pronunciation are smaller' which is true, by far as many UK cities have their own distinct accents. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 30 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Proposed merge: formal written English[edit]

Someone has proposed to merge formal written English into this article.

  • oppose this article on "standard English" is nothing but original research, suggestions, and mentions of related topics. This is not a good target for any merge. If it's current state is representative of the topic, then this article should rather be deleted. --Gronky (talk) 13:37, 6 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Formal written English does not cover what Standard English is supposed to be. Merging that concept would generate more confusion to what already is a mess. Gabrielinguist (talk) 22:39, 14 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Such prescriptivist organizations as there are private organizations (e.g. the Queen's English Society).[edit]

I can not make sense of this sentence. I use English as my academic language, i.e. I am not native English myself (I'm Germanic), but this seems incomplete. I will let native speakers and scholars clarify it. SidKane (talk) 14:52, 3 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

It appears to be spam, so I removed it. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 08:16, 20 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Bum citation[edit]

This probably constitutes at best "original research" though, I'd personally regard it as mere speculative musings than any kind of research at all. Deleting it: (talk) 11:23, 1 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Development over time[edit]

I visited this page today because I was wondering how the rules of Standard English evolved. How was it decided which grammatical forms were correct and which were incorrect? When was it decided that double negatives (present in almost all dialects) were incorrect? There doesn't seem to be much information on this. Would anyone have any resources to add some relevant information? Epa101 (talk) 11:48, 17 November 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Easiest to Understand[edit]

Wouldn't the "standard" English be the dialect which when spoken can be understood by the most English speakers or in other words a neutral accent? By this standard wouldn't the Hollywood accent (the English used in movies) be the Standard? Drewder (talk) 16:59, 30 November 2012 (UTC)[reply]

For some reason, linguists decided that Standard English refers only to the written form. For spoken form, there is no neutral accent of English, although there are models used for teaching foreigners such as General American and Received Pronunciation. These have their own articles. This situation contrasts with that of German, where Standard German can refer to both the written and spoken forms. Epa101 (talk) 23:27, 4 December 2012 (UTC)[reply]


The awkward phrasing of the sentence:

"English is the first language of the majority of the population in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and Barbados and is an official language in many others, including; India, Pakistan, South Africa and Nigeria."

Its is spoken by the majority in Ireland firstly, but officailly its the second language of the state, as found here

Article 8
  • 1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.
  • 2. The English language is recognised as a second official language.

I have changed it to read

English is the first language of the majority of the population in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and Barbados and is an official language in many others, including; India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa and Nigeria.

But it still sits awkward. Murry1975 (talk) 10:13, 28 September 2013 (UTC).[reply]

English originated in England during the Anglo-Saxon period?[edit]

I'm not sure that strictly speaking one should write "English originated in England during the Anglo-Saxon period". Its origins pre-date the existence of England as such - and geographically its origins must therefore include all the 'Angle-lands' not least those which eventually became southern Scotland. Perhaps "English originated in Great Britain during the Anglo-Saxon period" would be better? Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 8 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

any form of the English language that is accepted as a national norm in a particular English-speaking country[edit]

If there are so many varieties, then there's no standard. Is this concept more akin to the written standard and/or received pronunciation? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:43, 3 May 2017 (UTC)[reply]

No. There are simply just as many standard versions as there are English-speaking countries.

Standard English might therefore be defined as "Any artificial dialect of the English Language, written and spoken, intended to be used as the universal or 'standard' version of the language within a specific community".

One of the issues often misunderstood is that there can be no such thing as 'correct English' or 'good English' but there is such as thing as 'correct Standard English', or 'good Standard English' because the latter has absolute rules whilst 'English' alone is just the collective term for every possible type of English language usage including dialects, slang and make-it-up-as-you-go-along spelling. Cassandra. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 31 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Considering that English lacks a central regulating authority, how can the rules of Standard English be absolute? Isn't Standard English ultimately defined by social consensus? (talk) 18:50, 8 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Sentence fragment.[edit]

"In some areas a pidgin or creole language, blending English with one or more native languages." (talk) 18:21, 28 September 2018 (UTC)[reply]

What does this mean?

standard English.[edit]

What is standard english ? Ans- Standard English (SE, also standardized English) is a variety and form of English language that have been used and spoken by particular people or person in a country or in the states of country.

This is the informal or formal form of English which is used by people or person in their day to day life or in workplace or in official work.

This variety has its own accent or pronunciation and form of written English that is accepted by one person or many. Also this variety will some years after maybe accepted by nation or world.

Standard english vs english.

English is standard thing. And standard english refers to variety, not refer to any standard form. Because english have no regulatory bodies who defines any standard procedures. All dictionaries have its own collection of words. Which is there own way of interpretation of English.

The form or dialect is different from original English but considered as a part of English which is accepted by self or multiple person.

Stress or stress marks is considered or not considered in many Geographic regions, especially in India and some other Asian countries. Saikat shome (talk) 07:24, 6 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

You removed cited content from the article, and replaced it with unsourced content. Ironically, your text isn't written in Standard English either, certainly not the British English in which this article is written. - BilCat (talk) 07:32, 6 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Lead weirdness[edit]

The lead says 'Standard English ... is distinguishable from other English dialects largely by a small group of grammatical "idiosyncrasies", such as irregular reflexive pronouns and an "unusual" present-tense verb morphology' and has a source for this, but this claims is not elaborated upon (or found at all) in the article body.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:29, 18 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Excessive and non sequitur name dropping[edit]

Except where a claim is being made that is highly opinional and/or represents a model or hypothesis we're giving a little bit of WP:DUE room to but which is contradicted by other scholars we are citing, there is no reason to name-drop the writer of what we're citing at the beginning of every other sentence. It's intensely annoying to the average reader, and comes off like a linguistics paper instead of an encyclopedia article. I've removed most of this, but probably missed a few instances.

In one section, however, on superseded models, we are basically pitting academics' views against each other, and the names do need to appear attributively here, but in full form at first occurrence not just as surnames in a vacuum, meaningless to everyone but the most expert reader. I've fixed much of that as well, but there are probably a few remaining.

PS: I also did various bits of markup cleanup.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:35, 18 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Citation mess[edit]

The citations in this article are a trainwreck and need to be templated for consistency, instead of manually quasi-formatted in inconsistent styles. For one thing, it would be nice to be able to use {{sfnp}} and {{harvp}} (or other variants thereof) for shortened footnotes, but those don't work if the main citations are not templated with {{cite journal}}, {{cite book}}, etc. to generate the requierd CITEREF targets in the metadata.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:36, 18 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]