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TV test pattern

Case study: an example of a language attitude

Let’s look now at a real-life example of a language attitude.

The text below is taken from an email sent to BBC presenter Steph McGovern after one of her regular appearances on television:


Hi Steph,

Please don’t get me wrong, I like you and think you do a very good job and I’m not being patronising there. Your accent doesn’t bother me apart from one word that you mangle. “Here.” You say “heyah.” Sorry, but could you please just say ‘here’ as one syllable. You don’t have to put on a posh accent. Just say the word as it’s meant to be said.

Thank you


Now, take some time to reflect on the example above and share your thoughts in the comments if you’d like. Things to consider could be:

  • How are language attitudes expressed through the example?

  • What does this tell us about the author of the email?

  • What does this example tell us about language attitudes in connection to television broadcasting?

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This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Accents, Attitudes and Identity

University of York

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