Blaming the media?

As part of our interactive feature series in English Today, the latest and ninth article has been published today in which I discuss attitudes towards the role of the media in language variation and change.

In my online questionnaire, I asked informants in Great Britain what they thought of the current state of English and obtained more than 170 answers to this rather general question. Clearly not all of them denounced that the end of English is nigh, but I decided to focus on answers containing a negative outlook on the development of English. I was particularly interested in the numerous answers by informants putting the blame for the alleged doom of the language on the media.

Since I would like to investigate this issue further, I launched a survey last December asking for your opinion on this matter. The survey was designed with UK media in mind, which is due to my focus on attitudes towards prescriptivism in British English. Do media institutions (still?) take on the role of the language guardian or do they boost language change? What do you think? The survey can be accessed by clicking here. Filling in the survey will take roughly 10 minutes and the majority of questions deals with language use in British national daily newspapers. I’d appreciate your help!

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About Carmen Ebner

Carmen Ebner is a PhD candidate at Leiden University Centre for Linguistics and currently investigates attitudes towards British English Usage. Carmen is part of the project Bridging the Unbridgeable: linguists, prescriptivists and the general public, which is supervised by Prof Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade.
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