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Debate: Letting dialects die

Updated Friday 12th August 2005

Diana Honeybone of The Open University posed a provocative question

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One of the messages sent by listeners to Wednesday's programme about dialects of English suggested that we should get rid of dialects because they encourage compartmentalising and getting into little groups, at a time when we need to become more like each other, to avoid tension and trouble.

Some others, like the author Beryl Bainbridge, have suggested that regional dialects produce slovenly speech, and hold people back from success in life.

Should we make an effort to get rid of our dialects, or, on the other hand, to preserve them as some people are trying to do? Is there a place for the traditional dialects in modern life, as well as the new words and slang that was featured in the first programme?

 

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