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

188 replies

ecuse · 16/06/2017 22:05

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?

OP posts:

TheInimitableMrsFanshawe · 16/06/2017 22:06

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


user1471545174 · 16/06/2017 22:08



ImperialBlether · 16/06/2017 22:08

Oh I'd be all over that one!


cardibach · 16/06/2017 22:09

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 · 16/06/2017 22:09

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 · 16/06/2017 22:10

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


PuppyPickler · 16/06/2017 22:10

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 · 16/06/2017 22:10

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


Teachervoice · 16/06/2017 22:11

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 · 16/06/2017 22:12

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 · 16/06/2017 22:13

What's wrong with 'I wrote'?


llangennith · 16/06/2017 22:13

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


skyzumarubble · 16/06/2017 22:13

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 · 16/06/2017 22:14

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.

OP posts:

missiondecision · 16/06/2017 22:14

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 · 16/06/2017 22:15

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 · 16/06/2017 22:16

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


OhUnpretentiousSpud · 16/06/2017 22:16

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. :(


SwissChristmasMuseum · 16/06/2017 22:16

mssiondecision, all that is also legitimate oral usage.


Seren85 · 16/06/2017 22:16

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 · 16/06/2017 22:16

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 · 16/06/2017 22:17



SwissChristmasMuseum · 16/06/2017 22:18

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


missiondecision · 16/06/2017 22:19

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


SwissChristmasMuseum · 16/06/2017 22:21

Go Seren85, you've got it! Diaphasic varieties.

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