Reading John Honey’s The Language Trap

John Honey’s The Language Trap, subtitled “Race, class, and the ‘standard English’ issue in British schools”, is a 38-page pamphlet published in 1983 by the National Council for Educational Standards. It is a controversial document to say the least, even by the Honey’s own admission (see chapter 9 in his Language is Power). David Crystal’s review of it is available online.

Honey cynically notes that “most libraries … did not bother to acquire copies, so that it is now something of a collector’s piece” (Honey 1997:206). And because Honey rightly notes that “among academic specialists in linguistics, it caused a furore”, I became curious and would like to read it myself.

The Leiden University Library doesn’t have a copy either, but meanwhile a copy has been located in The Netherlands, so that looks promising. I would be interested in hearing what readers of the pamphlet think though. Comments very welcome.

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2 Responses to Reading John Honey’s The Language Trap

  1. Lottie says:

    I just wanted to enquire – Who was John Honey? Where was he working when the National Council of Educational Standards asked him to write this paper? Was he an academic?

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