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Standard English

In an English-speaking society, Standard English is the variety of English that has undergone regularization and is associated with

  • Language assessment
  • Official print publications
  • Formal schooling
  • Public service announcements
  • Newspapers of record

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It is not local to any particular place – its lexical and grammatical components are not regionally marked, even though many of them originated in different, non-adjacent dialects, and have little to no variation found in earlier written varieties of English. It is a social dialect used in writing distinguishable from other dialects mainly by a small group of grammatical idiosyncrasies, like unusual present-tense verb morphology and irregular reflexive pronouns.

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The word Standard refers to the regularisation of the spelling, usages of the language, and grammar and not to minimal desirability or interchangeability like in the case of a standard measure. All linguistic features are subject to the effects of standardization, including:

  • Morphology
  • Phonology
  • Syntax
  • Lexicon
  • Register
  • Discourse markers
  • Pragmatics
  • Spelling conventions
  • Spacing Conventions
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Abbreviation practices

In England and Wales, the term Standard English identifies the Received Pronunciation accent, the vocabulary and grammar of United Kingdom Standard English, and  British English. In Scotland, the variety of Standard English is Scottish English. In the United States, the spoken standard is the General American variety. In Australia, the General Australian is the standard English.

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