Does English even exist? Thoughts on language – the good, the bad and the ugly

7:30 pm Thursday 10 January 2019The King's Arms

Over a quarter of the world’s population speaks English, either as a first or second language, but what is this thing we call English? Can we really say that billions of people speak the same language? We certainly don’t all speak it in the same ways. With so many regional differences and new varieties constantly emerging, it is difficult to find the boundaries of English but it’s safe to say that the dictionaries and grammars don’t tell the full story.

In this talk, Dr Erin Carrie will be offering an alternative view on English and its many accents and dialects. She’ll also be discussing why we tend to think some accents and dialects of English are better than others. So, come along if you’ve ever wondered what it means to speak good or bad English, to have a posh or common accent or, even, which accent makes you sound more attractive to others. She’ll be showing that these judgements often say more about society than language.

Erin Carrie is a linguist working at the interface between Sociolinguistics and the Social Psychology of Language, with a particular interest in language variation and change, language attitudes, and folk perceptions regarding varieties of English speech.

She holds an MA (Hons) in French and Spanish and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of St Andrews, and is now a Lecturer in Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate units in Linguistics and supervise research projects at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD levels.