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AIBU / When is it dialect and when is it just wrong?

(189 Posts)
ecuse Fri 16-Jun-17 22:05:55

We live in East London/Essex border. I'm not from here originally. My little girl (6) has an East London accent. I expect this, this is where she is from, it's fine, in fact it suits her.

But she's all with the "you woz", "we woz", "wozzn't you, mummy?". I understand she picks this up from her whole peer group. BUT. When I go into school for reading morning etc etc I realise all 4 of the teachers she has had so far say "you woz" etc.

AIBU to think that teachers should not do this? They are teaching her literacy and that's just gramatically incorrect.

I don't think I'd ever have the bottle to bring it up but AIBU to be vexed, or am I just being all Hyacinth Bucket about it? Is it legitimate dialect or is it just wrong?

TheInimitableMrsFanshawe Fri 16-Jun-17 22:06:46

No, it's not legitimate dialect. It's wrong.

user1471545174 Fri 16-Jun-17 22:08:23


ImperialBlether Fri 16-Jun-17 22:08:44

Oh I'd be all over that one!

cardibach Fri 16-Jun-17 22:09:23

Right or wrong are a bit of a fluid concept with dialect. Standard English is a dialect too. However, I would expect teachers to model Standa d Englisha no a level of formality so I wouldn't be happy with that. I'm an English teacher.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Fri 16-Jun-17 22:09:30

I don't think the example you gave is legitimate dialect, but then I'm a grammar pedant and think that we should speak properly. I imagine I'm in a minority.

I think that dialects are fine, but incorrect use of language is just incorrect, especially if you're expecting to be training and educating children.w

missiondecision Fri 16-Jun-17 22:10:12

I agree with Mrs Fansure.
Do you say anything your daughter when she says "you woz?"

PuppyPickler Fri 16-Jun-17 22:10:46

I don't think I could cope with my child saying 'you was'. I'd nag them into submitting to 'you were'.

As for the teachers, that's very poor indeed.

cardibach Fri 16-Jun-17 22:10:50

Should be is a bit of a fluid concept, obviously blush

Teachervoice Fri 16-Jun-17 22:11:33

I teach English in the same area in which you live. Totally not appropriate for teachers to not use standard English when speaking to students! In fact, it's one of our 'teaching standards' which we have to maintain.

I can't bear the thought of my own children growing up with these habits plus the whole 'I wrote...' thing but I guess it's a very real risk if we stay in this area!

cardibach Fri 16-Jun-17 22:12:07

Foxy the definition of a dialect phrase is that it is non-standard grammar or vocabulary. It's not about right or wrong but appropriate or inappropriate.

cardibach Fri 16-Jun-17 22:13:00

What's wrong with 'I wrote'?

llangennith Fri 16-Jun-17 22:13:41

Dialect is accent. 'You was' is bad grammar. In no circumstances is it correct.

skyzumarubble Fri 16-Jun-17 22:13:45

It's wrong and it's a learned habit.

I liked from the beginning with dh that he would pay for any elocution lessons for future dc if he carried on. He stopped, apart from when he's with footie mates which I can just about tolerate.

ecuse Fri 16-Jun-17 22:14:31

I do correct her from time to time but I try not to do it all the time as I don't want to make her self conscious. She already has a slight stumble/possibly a stutter so I don't want to exacerbate that.

missiondecision Fri 16-Jun-17 22:14:49

I'm not from Essex however my children are, I cannot abide incorrect pronounciation of party or water. Oh and don't get me started on naaa, it aint, I'm telling ya.

SwissChristmasMuseum Fri 16-Jun-17 22:15:47

It's legitimate oral usage from a linguistic point of view. When it comes to writing, however, the standard should be used. The standard isn't a dialect in the geographical sense, though.

skyzumarubble Fri 16-Jun-17 22:16:06

Head at our school says 'wiv fanks'. I don't care where you're from it's wrong.

OhUnpretentiousSpud Fri 16-Jun-17 22:16:09

I understand what you mean. Round here instead of 'Aren't you?' we have 'Int yarr?'.

It's hard to complain about without sounding snobby, but I think teachers especially need to try and teach more typically standard English, in terms of grammar. It just confuses children who try and write 'Wasn't you?' in exercise books and then get told it's wrong.

Like it or not I probably wouldn't pass my English GCSE if I wrote down colloquial stuff like that. I'm all for celebrating dialects but I still think kids need to be made familiar with standard English from teachers and professionals, rightly or wrongly it will make their future lives easier. sad

SwissChristmasMuseum Fri 16-Jun-17 22:16:22

mssiondecision, all that is also legitimate oral usage.

Seren85 Fri 16-Jun-17 22:16:38

I agree with PP that it is more about when it is appropriate. I have NW/Lancashire accent and sometimes say things likes cosses (costs) had t'go't'shop. I wouldn't speak like that professionally or expect a teacher to speak like that to children, particularly when they're learning to read. It is difficult though when that is your natural dialect.

Ericaequites Fri 16-Jun-17 22:16:58

Teachers, especially of young children, need to model good grammar, diction, and accent. In America, there are plenty of teachers who neither know nor model lean diction and proper grammar.

Ericaequites Fri 16-Jun-17 22:17:36


SwissChristmasMuseum Fri 16-Jun-17 22:18:32

It's all a question of prestige, as demonstrated by your responses, which are absolutely textbook grin

missiondecision Fri 16-Jun-17 22:19:16

Ecuse, you are right to be sensitive. I think it helps to spell and write if you learn to speak grammatically correctly.

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