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Sex, Covert Prestige and Linguistic Change in the Urban British English of Norwich

Peter Trudgill
Language in Society
Vol. 1, No. 2 (Oct., 1972), pp. 179-195
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4166683
Page Count: 17
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Sex, Covert Prestige and Linguistic Change in the Urban British English of Norwich
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Abstract

Women use linguistic forms associated with the prestige standard more frequently than men. One reason for this is that working-class speech has favourable connotations for male speakers. Favourable attitudes to non-standard speech are not normally expressed, however, and emerge only in inaccurate self-evaluation test responses. Patterns of sex differentiation deviating from the norm indicate that a linguistic change is taking place: standard forms are introduced by middle-class women, non-standard forms by working-class men.

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