Authority in Language: Investigating Standard English

Front Cover
Routledge, Mar 12, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 208 pages

Authority in Language explores the perennially topical and controversial notion of correct and incorrect language.

James and Lesley Milroy cover the long-running debate over the teaching of Standard English in Britain and compare the language ideologies in Britain and the USA, involving a discussion of the English-Only movement and the Ebonics controversy. They consider the historical process of standardisation and its social consequences, in particular discrimination against low-status and ethnic minority groups on the basis of their language traits.

This Routledge Linguistics Classic is here reissued with a new foreword and a new afterword in which the authors broaden their earlier concept of language ideology.

Authority in Language is indispensable reading for educationalists, teachers and linguists and a long-standing text for courses in sociolinguistics, modern English grammar, history of English and language ideology.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Preface Prefacetothe third edition Keyto symbols and abbreviations used in the text
Standard English and the complaint tradition
4Grammar and speech
Linguistic prescription and the speech community
Linguistic repertoires and communicative competence

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

James Milroy is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University of Sheffield, and Fellow of the Faculty of Linguistics and Philology, University of Oxford. He is author of Language Variation and Change.

Lesley Milroy is currently Professor Emerita, University of Michigan and a Fellow of the Faculty of Linguistics and Philology, University of Oxford. She is co-author of Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation.

Bibliographic information