Skip main navigation

Case study: an example of a language attitude

We present an example of language attitude in connection with TV broadcasting and give you the opportunity to reflect on this.
TV test pattern
© University of York

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?

© University of York
This article is from the free online

An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Accents, Attitudes and Identity

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education