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Language Myths and the History of English$
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Richard J. Watts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327601.001.0001

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Transforming a myth to save an archive

Transforming a myth to save an archive

When polite becomes educated

(p.235) Chapter 10 Transforming a myth to save an archive
Language Myths and the History of English

Richard J. Watts (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Daniel Jones and Henry Wyld relate their evaluative appraisal of RP and their condemnation of so-called “vulgarities” to the concept of “educated speakers”, referring, of course, to the education received at the “great public boarding schools” (Wyld 1934) in Britain. This chapter argues that the term “educated” appears to substitute for the eighteenth-century term “polite”, and a reading of John Honey's work reveals that the ideology of politeness is merely masked by an ideology of educatedness in the struggle over the National Curriculum. This chapter traces out the connections between the ideology of politeness and that of educatedness. It argues that the Conservative Party's fight at the end of the 1980s to return to prescriptive grammar teaching in English was a reemergence of the desire to reinstate standard English as the legitimate language and as a means of retaining social exclusion.

Keywords:   ideology of educatedness, National Curriculum, education vs schooling, social exclusion, grammar teaching

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