The importance of prescriptivism in the development of 'schemes for respelling' in eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionaries

Abstract : This paper will give an overview of the role of prescriptivism in the evolution of phonic descriptions in eighteenth-century English pronouncing dictionaries. First, we will show how the prescriptive attitudes of orthoepists during this period led them to adopt increasingly detailed and precise transcription systems, and second, how this same prescriptivism, informed by graphocentrism, influenced these systems as well as the individual transcriptions. Our aim is to establish that the prescriptive tendencies that hardened in eighteenth-century England (during the period which saw the rise of what would come to be known as Received Pronunciation) served both as a catalyst for a more systematic approach to describing spoken language, and as a shortcoming of the actual respellings. This is linked to prescriptivism as a tool for social demarcation, and a pedagogical necessity, but also as the hallmark of the traditional, accretive approach to knowledge, of which graphocentric bias is one example.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 10, 2016 - 5:14:16 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 4, 2019 - 5:33:30 PM

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Véronique Pouillon. The importance of prescriptivism in the development of 'schemes for respelling' in eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionaries. IX Col·loqui Internacional «Problemes i Mètodes d'Història de la Llengua»: La construcció de les llengües: Mites, Normes i Emocions (9th International Conference: Problems and Methods in the history of Language, "Norms, myths and emotions"), Grup d'Història de la Llengua i Llengua Normativa, Universitat de Girona, Jun 2013, Girona, Spain. pp.131-144. ⟨hal-01378529⟩

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