Vigilance or tolerance? Younger speakers' attitudes to Australian English usage

Alyssa A. Severin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Throughout the twentieth century, the teaching of English in first-language classrooms underwent a series of radical upheavals. Crystal claimed that the newest pedagogy introduced into curricula in the 1990s would lead to a decline in rates of prescriptivism among English speakers, with young Anglophones becoming tolerant of language variation and change. Through a survey of 307 Australian English speakers, this study compares linguistic judgements across age groups corresponding to different pedagogical approaches received during primary and secondary schooling. Analysis of participants’ responses demonstrates that younger speakers who received the new approach in school displayed a more nuanced understanding of linguistic rules of appropriateness than their older counterparts. They were also more aware of the social factors which inform speakers’ judgements; however, they largely remained intolerant of socially marked forms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)156-181
    Number of pages26
    JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Prescriptivism
    • Language Attitudes
    • Curriculum
    • Pedagogy
    • Verbal Hygiene
    • Australian English

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