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I'm intrigued. On another forum, Mr P mentioned of the term "standard spoken English". He hasn't yet given a clear definition of what he means by that term, but he has excluded the use of "if I have/get chance..." over "if I have/get the/a chance..." from his view of what is standard spoken English.

I wonder, what do you all think the term "standard spoken English" means and would you, as Mr P did, exclude the above? And these, would you exclude from spoken standard English's borders?

-Things going well, are they?
-He won't be late I don't think.
-She about six foot tall.
-wanna/gonna
-Jamie, he's got a new hat.
-He's got a new hat, Jamie.
-There's a hairy thing on the green stuff.
-Dave coffee?
-He got killed.
-I was worried I was going to lose it and I did almost.
-You know which one I mean probably.
-A friend of mine, his uncle had the taxi firm when we had the wedding.
-Do you know erm you know where the erm go over to er go over erm where the fire station is not the one that white white...
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Standard English doesn't exist in practice. You have to define it first. There isn't any ISO standard which says how English should be.
So we have to define it. How do we define it? Well, someone already defined Standard English as "formal or almost formal English used by educated people in writing and without any hint of regional features". That's what people mean when they say something is "non-standard". That's why "ain't" is considered non-standard.

If you want to define "standard spoken English" in a way that makes sense, you might define it as "a group of English dialects that are likely to be understood by most people". In this case, "ain't" would be standard, because everyone knows what it means, and "fo shizzle" would not be standard, being slang restricted to certain groups.

But notice all these are definitions someone has to make up, and they can't really be official and suitable for every situation. If you are a black guy talking "white" in the ghetto, you could well say you are not talking standard. You crazeh! You bin talkin white! Emotion: smile
Hello Milky. Yes, your style remains, even when you post anonymously.

I would define it as the type of English you use when you interview for a white-collar job. The type of English you use when you testify before Congress. The type of English you use when you mean your significant other's well-bred, wealthy parents for the first time.

I would absolutely exclude omitting articles and verbs when they are needed in standard written English. I would not exclude instances when you simply don't have the vocabulary so you use words like "thing" and "stuff." I would not exclude the occasional "um" because some people are not good public speakers, despite their knowledge of and daily use of standard English.

It's how you speak when the know the rules for standard written English and want your style of speech to reflect your knowledge and use of it, and you don't want your speech to reflect your socio-economic or regional background. You are being as neutral as possible.

You don't have to use formal words when you speak in standard English. You do have conjugate, use articles, use proper auxiallary verbs, and so on.
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<I would define it as the type of English you use when you interview for a white-collar job. The type of English you use when you testify before Congress. The type of English you use when you mean your significant other's well-bred, wealthy parents for the first time.>

But isn't that just the written form transferred to speech? A spoken-written form, so to speak. And if it were "the type of English you use when you interview for a white-collar job. The type of English you use when you testify before Congress. The type of English you use when you mean your significant other's well-bred, wealthy parents for the first time." would it then exclude an informal register? In other words there would be no such thing as " informal standard spoken English", right?
Thanks, Koyeen. A very interesting reply.

Would you include these in any definition of a spoken standard English?

  1. Things going well, are they?
  2. He won't be late I don't think.
  3. She about six foot tall.
  4. Jamie, he's got a new hat.
  5. He's got a new hat, Jamie.
  6. There's a hairy thing on the green stuff.
  7. Dave coffee?
  8. He got killed.
  9. I was worried I was going to lose it and I did almost.
  10. You know which one I mean probably.
  11. A friend of mine, his uncle had the taxi firm when we had the wedding.
  12. Do you know erm you know where the erm go over to er go over erm where the fire station is not the one that white white...
  13. If you have/get chance, drop me a line.
"In turn, standard spoken English is said to have its own 'grammar, vocabulary and idiom'. How do we know what is to be excluded from the standard vocabulary of spoken English? And how are its idioms to be decided on?"

Bex, Watts. 1999
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Something to chew on:

THE NOTION OF STANDARD SPOKEN GRAMMAR

The term ‘standard grammar’ is most typically associated with written language,
and is usually considered to be characteristic of the recurrent usage of adult,
educated native speakers of a language. Standard grammar ideally reveals no
particular regional bias. Thus ‘Standard British English’ grammar consists of items
and forms that are found in the written usage of adult educated native speakers
from Wales, Scotland and England and those Northern Irish users who consider
themselves part of the British English speech community.

The typical sources of evidence for standard usage are literary texts, quality
journalism, academic and professional writing, etc. Standard grammar is given the
status of the official record of educated usage by being written down in grammar
books and taught in schools and universities.

Spoken transcripts often have frequent occurrences of items and structures
considered incorrect according to the norms of standard written English. However,
many such forms are frequently and routinely used by adult, educated native speakers.

Examples of such structures are split infinitives (e.g. We decided to immediately sell it),
double negation (e.g. He won’t be late I don’t think, as compared to I don’t think he will
be late), singular nouns after plural measurement expressions (e.g. He’s about six foot
tall), the use of contracted forms such as gonna (going to), wanna (want to), and so on.

Standard spoken English grammar will therefore be different from standard
written English grammar in many respects if we consider ‘standard’ to be a
description of the recurrent spoken usage of adult native speakers. What may be
considered ‘non-standard’ in writing may well be ‘standard’ in speech.
Speech and writing are not independent. Although some forms of spoken
grammar do not appear in writing (unless in written dialogues), there is
considerable overlap and there is an increasing range of forms appearing in
informal written texts which previously were only considered acceptable in
speech. In 120 the presence of typically spoken grammatical forms contexts as emails and internet chat-room exchanges is discussed.

From: The Cambridge Grammar of English (GCE)
Hi Milky/Metal/Molly (or whatever the Anonymous name du jour might be)

It seems to me that your first post and your subsequent back-to-back posts in this thread indicate nothing more than an inexplicable over-reaction to the fact that other people have had the "audacity" to suggest that typos often exist in written English (even when the written English is a transcription of or in the style of spoken English), and that typos and unintentional omissions are frequently identifiable as such.
AnonymousOn another forum, Mr P mentioned of the term "standard spoken English". He hasn't yet given a clear definition of what he means by that term, but he has excluded the use of "if I have/get chance..." over "if I have/get the/a chance..." from his view of what is standard spoken English. I wonder, what do you all think the term "standard spoken English" means and would you, as Mr P did, exclude the above?
Don't worry about it. You can trust anything Mr P says.
CJ
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