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"Informal" Trend in the Language

 
  • One of the biggest trends in the development of English over the last one hundred years or so has been the demand for plain and unaffected diction

 
  • It goes hand in hand with condemnation of the idle taste for “words of learned length and thundering sound”

 
  • From the end of the nineteenth century such demands have come to represent significant linguistic reflexes of democratisation of the British society

 
  • They appear to be part of a general movement away from old class constraints and social rigidities

 
  • They account for the development of the “informal” trend in the language

Tyldesley miners outside the Miners Hall during the 1926 strike

Social Background

  • The informal trend is a linguistic reflex of massive social transformation over the past hundred years

  • The 1926 General Strike and the rise of democratic socialism enabled the Labour Party to replace the Liberals in competing with Conservatives as the alternative party of government 

  • A democratisation of British society gained momentum

  • In the post-war era it has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in the general standard of living

 
  • The mass of people – working-class and lower-middle-class – have become much more self-confident (and hence more linguistically assertive)

 
  • At the same time they are more highly valued by the powerful and are wooed by commerce and advertisers

 

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"PLAIN ENGLISH"

  "Informal" Trend in the Language

  Social Background

  Changes in Education

  The Importance of Everyday Words

  "Plain English" in Official Writing

  Gobbledygook

  Democratisation of Accent

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