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p. 313. Perceptions of languagelocked

  • John Edwards


‘Perceptions of language’ explores studies of the perception of language varieties, and argues that while listeners may believe that some varieties are grammatically or aesthetically superior to others, the evidence suggests otherwise. The variant assessments found in the social laboratory and on the street reflect, above all, listeners' perceptions of the speakers of given varieties. The variety itself is a trigger or stimulus that evokes attitudes (or prejudices or stereotypes) about the community to which the speaker is thought to belong. There are no intrinsic grounds that elevate one variety over another: social convention is the driving force here. Dialect difference and not relative deficiency is the issue.

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