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The Woman Problem & other prose

Spoken English

page 93

Spoken English

Is there such a thing as 'standard English' speech? I have heard it defined as 'the way an educated Englishman speaks'; but that doesn't take us very far. Try listening to about twenty different educated Englishmen and you'll see why.

There is, first of all, the question whether it is a desirable thing for all English-speaking people to conform to a common standard in their style of speech. My own instinct leads me to resist standardisation of human behaviour in all possible contexts. I believe in 'personalism' (which is not quite the same thing as individualism), in regionalism, and in organic growth rather than mechanical order. With Kipling, I 'thank God for the diversity of His creatures'. If it is good (as I believe it is) that the people of Wales should develop certain characteristics that differentiate them from the people of Yorkshire, is dialect speech one of them? This seems to me to present a difficult field of inquiry, in which we can stumble about for a long time without discovering any self-evident truths.

I am prepared, however, to defend the proposition that there is something that can be recognised as 'standard English' speech, and that it is desirable to encourage its use in all places that are in any sense common meeting-grounds of English-speaking people. (We shall have to make our norm a fairly flexible one if it is to be applicable also— as it should be—to the Americans; but even then I think we can still give it a meaning.) University teachers, radio speakers, lecturers, and the members of the 'clerigy' should, I maintain, all speak according to a common convention. I hope nobody will suggest that this convention can't be 'defined scientifically'. Of course it can't, any more than one can give an exact definition of good manners, or orthodox page 94golfing style. The language on which the greater and more valuable part of English literature is based is a common language, existing with a recognisable convention. I think we can establish a similar convention in spoken English; and this without importing any element of 'regimentation'.

Perhaps the best way to begin is to give some indication of what 'standard English' is not. In the course of doing so it may be necessary to remove a few misconceptions.

In England, many dialects are spoken. Some of these are regional dialects, with a deep background of tradition. People from Devon, Lancashire, London, and North Wales all speak differently, if they have not learnt to conform to some more general standard. But there are other dialects, with a social and occupational, not a regional, origin. There is the 'Oxford bleat', for instance. The Army and the Navy have their own peculiar habits of speech. Certain B.B.C. announcers have cultivated a tongue of their own, which is just as much a dialect as Cockney or A'strylian. There are all sorts of variations on these modes of speaking. Southern Englishmen in general, for example, seem to be incapable of using the letter r. They will pronounce 're-write' as 'we-wite', and say 'Bewabbas was a wobber'. And when they come from the upper crust, and try to be crisp and clear-cut in their utterance (to distinguish themselves from the more slovenly lower orders), they will say 'heah and theah' instead of 'here and there', and 'shaw' instead of 'sure'.

Some of the B.B.C. announcers we heard during the War were extremely odd in their speech-habits. 'Here is the news' often became 'Hair is the n'yaws'. We heard what Mr Chemblin had said about the Empah, and were told about an enemy petrol-dump being on fah. 'Captain' was demoted to 'keptinn', and 'furious' became 'f'yorious'. The long A diphthong was turned into a pure vowel—'today' becoming 'todeh'.

This abandonment of the long A diphthong is fairly prevalent among those who speak what we may call, in the modern sense, Wardour Street English. (I saw it described the other day as 'like cutting thin slices of ham'.) All such words as fame, name, tale, eight, are pronounced with a page 95rather colourless vowel sound instead of a diphthong—as in 'todeh'. (Or, if it makes it any clearer, 'todair' without the r on the end.) The long U diphthong, as in 'few' and 'beauty', also suffers, in this case by a distortion of the diphthong ee-oo into ee-aw. So 'Tew' becomes 'f'yaw', and 'beauty' something very close to 'b'yawteh.'

The point I wish to make is that none of the distortions to which I have referred has any claim to rate as standard English. Those I have mentioned are heard more often in England than in the Dominions. I believe their origin can be explained, and I shall try to do so later on. First let us lend our ears, inquiringly but without zest, to some of the mutilations of standard English that are heard in New Zealand.

First of all there is the ordinary New Zealand mode of speech (if I may be permitted to give it a label). It is bad, but not as bad as A'strylian, with which it shares several characteristics. Professor Arnold Wall and others have dealt fairly fully with this dialect, so I shall not try to survey its full range of wrecked consonants and mangled and telescoped vowels. It substitutes 'foine' for 'fine'; 'I sigh' for 'I say'; 'quicklee' for 'quickly'; 'Chewsdee' for 'Tuesday'; 'interjooce' for 'introduce'; fulla' for 'fellow'; 'neow' for 'now'; 'soote' for 'suit'; 'Kin y' do ut?' for 'Can you do it?'—and so on. Very often the speaker sounds as if he had a cleft palate, or at any rate a loose dental plate. I believe a good deal of the trouble is due to a failure to open the mouth properly; but the full diagnosis is much more complex than that (There are also— although this is outside my present scope—some simple mispronunciations that seem to be quite general; 'bassic' for 'basic', and 'adult', 'ally', and 'finance' with the accent on the first syllable instead of the second.) The intonation in this speech is pinched and nasal, with the speech organs cramped and restricted. One of its most characteristic points is the catarrhal vowel. If you are not sure from a man's speech whether he is a New Zealander or an Englishman, ask him to pronounce the word 'Britain'. If he is an Englishman the '-tain' will be sounded clearly; if a New Zealander, the word will be pronounced 'Bri∗n', with a sort of nasal snort or click where I have put the asterisk.

page 96

I have often wondered how people who speak like this contrive to enjoy reading English poetry.

Mewseek, wen sof' voices doie,
Voibrites in the memoree;
Oduz, wen, sweet violets sickun,
Live within the sense 'ey quickun.

Is there some strange metabolism of the mind that transmutes the debased vowels, rhythms and emphases back into the original gold? Or are the echoes that vibrate in the memory purely leaden?

Some New Zealanders have reacted sharply against the dialect I am now describing, and have devised one of their own, which bears the same sort of relationship to standard English speech as a 'serviette' does to a table-napkin. One or two of the private girls' schools seem to encourage this way of speaking, which we may call Colonial-genteel. It borrows certain of its twists from some of the more precious and hole-in-corner dialects of fashionable England, but it has added a few more on its own account. The round O diphthong in 'home' is pinched and drawled to make the word 'haome'. 'No' becomes 'nao', or even 'neh-oo'. The long vowel in 'too' and 'school' is shortened to sound like the 'oo' in foot.' 'Culture' becomes 'cahlture' and 'love' 'lahve'. 'First' is turned into 'fust', or even 'fast', and persons become pahsons. 'F'yaw' and 'k'yorious' (for 'curious') are borrowed from English sources. Now and again we run against some even odder importations, such as the suppressed aspirate in 'Are you a tome?' (Are you at home?)

Some of the elocutionists have exploited Colonial-genteel in a way that calls for the use of a blunt instrument. Their worst crime is the murder of the loveliest vowel in the language, the long I. I shudder at the thought of how these naice refained people would speak Poe's famous line—

The viol, the violet and the vine.

The bounds of standard English speech must, of course, be drawn to allow for slight variations, not only from person to person but from place to place. For example, I think New page 97Zealanders can afford to shorten very slightly the 'ah' sound in the diphthong 'ah-oo' in such words as 'now'—without giving that particular word the triple vowel sound that makes it rhyme with 'miaow'. And 'certain', which many English-men pronounce 'certinn', can accommodate a more neutral vowel than the short i. But these things amount to altering the shade of the vowel sound very slightly not to making it an entirely different colour.

There is undoubtedly a very close link between the social and economic status of people and their way of speaking. This applies in a number of ways. Let me try to illustrate some of them.

The French demographer Arsne Dumont, who died in 1902 after a life of obscurity, came to the conclusion, having investigated closely the structure of the society in which he lived, that the process he called 'social capillarity' had much to do with the decline in the birth-rate in modern democracies. He remarked that fertility is high in countries that have a rigid caste system—where people are born, live, and die in a caste from which it is impossible to climb upwards. 'Dumont held that in a modern democracy, which is essentially a society with political equality but social and economic inequality, the more intelligent and alert members of the community tend to rise in the social scale as oil rises in the wick of a lamp, and that social capillarity is the expression of a "toxic principle" which invariably appears in such a society. The toxic principle is the cult of individual self-seeking leading to the dissolution of social solidarity. Working through social capillarity it results in numerous phenomena, the most important of which are depopulation, increasing urbanisation, the breaking-up of family life, and the decay of patriotism.' (I quote from G. F. McCleary's book Population: To-day's Question.)

Whatever effect the 'social capillarity' associated with individualism may have on vital statistics, I am sure it has a close connection with the development of certain of our class-dialects.

The regional dialects of England were natural growths.page 98An obvious reason for their divergence from one another was the inability of the common people to travel far. Their betters went to London or Bath for 'the season', but there was a rigid dividing-line between the upper and lower classes. My knowledge of rural dialects is too inadequate for me to make any strong assertions. I imagine, however, that there must have been a merging of one dialect with another, from village to village; and, on top of that situation, some development of group consciousness that caused a certain hardening of the dialect-pattern. A Somerset man who lived near Wiltshire would in the natural way probably speak very much like his neighbour across the border. But he might, on becoming conscious of himself as a Somerset man, a member of a regional group, bend his speech towards some conventional Somerset style of speaking, which would in time become recognisable as a distinct dialect.

If not just that, something very like it must have happened, if we are to account for the emergence of different rural dialects. The point I wish to stress however, is the element of assertiveness—the deliberate acceptance and emphasis of a dialect by a regional group, or by its members, as an act of allegiance to one another. The more clannish people are, the more they are aware of ties of blood and soil, the stronger will be their tendency to cling to a native dialect. I know Scots and Irishmen who have been in New Zealand for several decades, and who still speak with an accent like a suit of checkcloth. Englishmen, who have left the tribal pattern of society many more centuries behind them, tend to be much more adaptable to new social habits.

The sophisticated life of the Capital produces a fairly definite speech-convention among the 'ruling class'. In earlier centuries, with caste barriers still firm, there would be a strong tendency, but not a pressing need, for people to use speech-mannerisms to help them to maintain the 'class front'.

But when those barriers began to crumble under the earthquake shocks of the Industrial Revolution, and 'social capillarity' began to take effect, class-consciousness became more acute. There were people who belonged to the upper classes through family tradition; there were others, the page 99'newly-rich', who climbed up through the social hierarchy and maintained their position by their money and the skin of their teeth. And there were the 'lower orders', who for the most part accepted class-divisions as being decreed from On High, but began to breed a few revolutionaries to threaten the whole elaborate class-structure.

In this flux, I imagine that the use of class-dialects became more and more self-conscious. A family of low birth that made money and climbed into the company of the aristocracy would take care to ape the speech of its betters. It would probably go further, and become very highfalutin indeed, just to leave no room for doubt. Some of the resentful aristocrats, needing no flamboyant badge of speech to assert their status, would perhaps go to the other extreme and wilfully drop their h's and g's, just to distinguish themselves from the climbers. The village girl who went into service in an upper-class establishment would try to bend the native speech of the village in an upward curve, as witness of her connection with the 'nobs', thus providing raw material for the comic speech of stage-servants.

Somewhere in this strange jungle full of apes and parrots and hyenas is to be found the shapely animal called standard English. The plea for its acceptance implies an attack, not so much on regional dialects, as on the extraordinary pattern of class-dialects that has come into being after a century and and a half of class disruption and 'social capillarity'. Standard English speech is one of the several pillars of a democratic community—and by that I mean a community in which democracy has come to be, not a destructive and anarchic force, but a norm of social living based on the notion of spiritual equality.

Language is the matrix of our 'conscious' in the Marxist sense, a different means by which we recognise ourselves as members of a community, and express ourselves as individuals. It is the link between man and mankind. In that sensitive medium we shall expect to find reflected, not only the subtle inter-relations between social groups and classes, but also the attitudes of individuals towards the society to which they belong.

page 100

The English working-class girl who takes a job as a parlour-maid, and begins to sprinkle aspirates liberally through her speech, is trying to conform to the social structure. She is not attempting to climb on to the same level as her employer. In dealing with other girls who work for employers who are slightly inferior socially to her own she will be extremely haughty, and import a much greater degree of snobbishness into the situation than that which exists at the top. By trying to speak in what she imagines to be a genteel manner she is making a ceremonial gesture of loyalty to the class-structure of which she is a part. Because she accepts her position willingly she has no oppressive feeling of social inferiority.

If, however, she becomes 'class-conscious' in the Marxist sense, a different situation arises. She may sulkily assent to her condition of servitude—in which case she will probably drop any attempts to 'improve' her mode of speaking. Or she may become aggressive about it, and deliberately roughen her speech in various ways, so that it becomes cruder than that of her parents.

In theorising about these matters there is, of course, the danger of becoming fanciful. But I think the pace at which people speak often has a significant bearing on their social position. Country people generally speak slowly. They belong to a pattern of life that is more leisurely than that of the hectic city. The American drawl probably has some connection with the easy, slow-moving life of the early colonists and settlers. People in hot countries tend to speak more slowly than those in cold climates. And people who have to get a great deal of work done in a very short time tend to speak quickly and jerkily. At the more highly sophisticated levels of society there is often something close to a conscious intention in the way people regulate the pace at which they speak. The Services usually speak crisply, to convey the idea of efficiency. The Mayfair lady of ostentatious leisure drawls, as if to show that she has plenty of time to say what she has to say—even if it is not worth saying. Her servants probably speak with that quick rattle of Cockney English one hears in East End pubs.

page 101

In New Zealand I think we find strong evidences of a sense of inferiority leading to the debasement of the spoken language. In some individual cases I am sure we can diagnose from the manner of speech a definite anti-social alignment.

I have noticed at times a deliberate mangling of the spoken language—to an extent that is hard to account for unless we assume some hidden motivation. One result of compulsory education is that the number of people capable of doing 'white-collar' jobs far exceeds the supply of such jobs. In spite of a fair measure of democratic sentiment, 'white-collar' work still has a prestige that derives from its association with the business and property-owning classes who up till the present have held economic power.

I find it not at all fantastic to assume that these speech-manglers are people in whom a moderate amount of education has produced a heightened sense of social inadequacy. Either it has made them too poignantly aware of their own native deficiencies: or it has tantalised them with prospects of advancement never to be realised. They become, in a real sense, social misfits. If they had more character they would either thrust their way up through the social hierarchy towards 'success'; or become communists; or even philosophically accept a place near the bottom of the ladder—after having looked at some of those near the top.

When such a personal crisis leads to psychological defeat, the victim often seeks revenge against society. Since crime, on the whole, doesn't pay, only a few take that path. In any event, it is only in the more extreme cases that the situation is intense enough to produce such strong anti-social reactions. But there is another sort of revenge that is cheap and painless (if quite profitless, except in terms of psychological satisfaction), and that is the mutilation of the language. This amounts, on a secular plane, to something like the defilement of an altar. For language is, in a metaphysical sense, the body of society, its real substance and being: it is the repository of the communal spirit, in and through which social values are realised, recorded, and enshrined. It is logical to expect those who have hidden anti-social motives to 'take it out' in ritual fashion on the language of society.

page 102

I have heard larrikins aggressively maiming the language they learnt at school—mangling it, pulling its wings off, kicking it along the gutter with evident gusto. These are the same people who smash bottles in the street, and reel out life-lines on surf beaches, cut them half-way, and re-wind them again. They are a small minority of the population, and they constitute a social problem. My purpose at the moment is not to preach a sermon against them, but to indicate one of the ways in which the spoken language comes to be debased.

Apart from such extreme types, there are in New Zealand many people who show evidence in their speech of some sense of social inferiority. My own view—and you can take it for what it is worth—is that there is in this country a widespread 'Colonial inferiority' feeling. Any well-bred and well-spoken Englishman who has lived for a time in New Zealand will, I think confirm this view if you ask him. The ordinary New Zealand voice has a hint of something slovenly and hang-dog about it when set against a good English voice. So far from English speech providing an example, it is more likely to provoke a resentful reaction in the opposite direction, towards a more aggressive Colonialism. Very often, of course, this is due to the English voice being tinged with one of the more precious dialect-flavours of fashionable England to which I referred earlier.

Then, of course, there is the opposite type of New Zealander, who cultivates a ridiculously 'superior' style of speaking, which becomes more affected the higher he manages to climb up the monkey-puzzle tree of bourgeois society. The social toady and the profiteer's pimp can often be identified by their voices.

There are many others in New Zealand, perhaps the majority of those who speak badly, in whom the fault is due to indifference and laziness more than to anything else: an acceptance of the conventional habits of speech of those with whom they mix. They feel a certain diffidence about trying to improve their speech. They are afraid of being mistaken for pansies or social climbers. Their friends and workmates might think they were putting on dog, trying page 103to get a bit above themselves. But very seldom, I think, do we fail to find some trace of that Colonial inferiority feeling which lurks at the back of our minds.

For the benefit of these people who hesitate to attempt to speak well it should be pointed out that the proper speaking of English has nothing to do with snobbery or pedantry— which are at the root of most of the ultra-genteel dialects I have mentioned. It is my belief that standard English can be described and defended in terms that are purely aesthetic and functional.

Let us deal first with the functional side of the matter. To speak well, a person must have good voice-production, and use all the organs of speech in a flexible and controlled way. A good deal of the harshness of quality one hears in ordinary speech in New Zealand is due to pinched mouths and constricted throats. The development of the muscles of the throat, mouth and face, and their efficient use, is exactly on a par with the development and use of other muscles. A boy who has a normal and healthy desire to be athletic will often use his speech-organs in a most unathletic fashion. Faulty voice-production is therefore of the same order as hunched backs, knock-knees, and hollow chests. If this idea could be got into the heads of school athletes (who usually set the pattern of behaviour for the rest), the standard of spoken English in New Zealand could be jacked up half a dozen notches within a generation.

Voice-production, however, is not the whole story. If a person uses his speech-organs efficiently, he will probably produce good consonants and vowel sounds; but will he use the right vowel sounds in pronouncing his words? There is no certainty that the diphthong in 'rain' will not become a perfectly produced i sound. Nor is there any guarantee that an important suffix such as -ly will not be given a false stress, leading to such solecisms as 'quicklee' and 'nicelee'; or that 'beauty' will not be debased into 'beautee'.

In trying to establish a 'right' enunciation of vowel sounds we can of course fall back on usage and convention. But they in turn call for some justification other than the fact that educated people—or some educated people—support page 104them. I think we can find another touchstone—one that is purely aesthetic.

The science of phonetics presents great subtleties, and uses a system of symbols that is familiar to perhaps one person in every 10,000. Since I am one of the 9,999 I propose to use a very simple and arbitrary, and not at all subtle, phonetic scheme to make certain points that seem to me to be important.

First let me offer an analogy. The opaque colours which artists use in painting pictures are related to the spectrum of sunlight. A rainbow is, by common consent, a beautiful thing. It would not be so beautiful if it consisted of only one band of colour. Nor would the artist be able to paint so effectively if he were restricted to using nothing but monochrome.

Just as the spectrum of sunlight shows a graduated series of light emanations ranging from red to violet, with a constantly-changing wavelength as we move from one extreme to the other, so there is a sort of 'spectrum' of vowel sounds, on the proper use of which the 'colour' of spoken language chiefly depends. Vowel sounds are made by a resonance in the open throat, the degree of openness depending on the particular vowel. (The formation of consonant sounds always—with the exception of the sibilants and the r sound— involves making a temporary and complete obstruction with the lips, teeth, or tongue.)

In using colours the painter is, as a rule, attempting to imitate or to represent nature. And in nature there is a jumble of colours, just as there is a jumble of sound. If the painter were doing something parallel to what we do when we speak, he would select certain slabs of colour and use them as a sort of sign-language. He would find it best to keep them separate, without mixing them, in order to preserve the meaning of each distinctly. And it would be desirable for his colours to be sufficiently few in number to retain their distinctive characters; yet sufficiently numerous to make full use of the range of the spectrum.

To make the point clearer, let us take another analogy. If we are issuing postage stamps of various denominations we page 105shall also use the range of colours derived from the spectrum. If we have too many denominations of one pattern, we shall be compelled to grade the colours very close to one another. But if we have a comfortable number to deal with, we can space them out over the range of colours, and make every one quite distinct from the others.

The thing I want to emphasise is the advantage of spacing the colours more or less evenly. Not only will they be more distinct, but they will look more pleasing when seen all together.

Similarly, with our range of vowel sounds it is desirable on aesthetic (as well as functional) grounds to keep them evenly spaced over the range of our 'spectrum' of sound. In that way we shall maintain distinctions, keep the character of each sound separate from its neighbours, and provide the basis of a spoken language that is rich in its diversity of sounds, and at the same time a thoroughly efficient means of communication.

The Maori language, if I am not mistaken, is practically devoid of diphthong sounds. The vowel sounds are kept apart from one another, when they occur together they are given separate and distinct expression. Maori is a musical language, but it lacks the subtlety and complexity of English. And this greater richness is due in no small measure to the numerous diphthong sounds that are used.

When some person, out of sheer gentility, turns the diphthong in the word 'day' into a pure vowel ('deh'), or does the same thing to 'fire' by pronouncing it 'fah', he is helping to impoverish the English language. There are people who dispense altogether with the beautiful i diphthong in such words as 'fine'? Some of them make it 'foine', others 'fane'. They, too, are wiping a very good colour off their palette, or their palate.

For similar reasons, the a in 'far' should be given its full value, and should not be pinched in to approximate to the short a in 'fat'. On the other hand, it should not become 'faw'. 'Aw', 'ah' and 'a' (short) are three good and distinct vowel sounds. They should not be substituted for one another, nor pushed in close together in the range of sound.

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It would be tedious if I were to go through all the vowel sounds and their variations and indicate the distinctions. But in case any reader suffers from insomnia, and wants something to occupy his mind, let me offer a very simple and unorthodox system of vowel-phonetics that may help him to analyse the various diphthong sounds that are so often mispronounced.

Why is it that they are so often misused? Partly because the vowels of which they are compounded are not produced properly in the throat. But mainly because the wrong combinations of vowel sounds are so often used in spoken diphthongs. Take the word 'fine' by way of example. The i stands for a diphthong sound—the combination of the two vowels Ah and Ee. Say Fah-Een quickly, running the two vowel sounds together, and you have Fine. If the two sounds are given efficient voice production, the pronunciation of the word will be according to correct standard English. If you go in the other direction, and make Aw and Ee your vowel sounds, you will get Foine.

Take, again, the word Brown. The correct diphthong is roughly Ah-Oo. But if you make the first part of it a short A, as in 'cat, you will get the common New Zealand pronunciation. The really bad New Zealand pronunciation is a combination of three vowel sounds—Bree-a-Oon (short A). Say it quickly, and you will see what I mean.

If you will go over the diphthong sounds in various words breaking them up in this way, the importance of combining the right vowel sounds will soon become apparent; and you will be able to pick holes in the speech of almost anybody who talks to you. Some diphthongs are, of course, nearly fool-proof and are almost impossible to mishandle. For instance, the w in Water , which is really Oo . Say Oo-Awter quickly and you will be close to the mark. A similar example can be found in y. Young and Yellow can be broken up into Ee-Ung and Ee-Elow . (When y appears in the middle of a word it is nearly always the equivalent of i long or short.)

Standard English requires, then, first that there should be good voice-production—the full use of all the organs of page 107speech; secondly, that the vowels should be fairly diverse, quite distinct, and evenly spaced from one another in the 'sound spectrum'; and thirdly, that the diphthongs should consist of the right combinations of vowels. It requires many other things, of course—a good vocabulary, correct word-pronunciation, rhythm, proper emphasis, and so on. But those things open up other fields of inquiry.

Those who heard Leslie Banks speak the Prologue to Henry V will know what good English speech sounds like. (In ordinary speech there is not as a rule the need for such a powerfully expressive mode of utterance.) G. B. Shaw's speech is admirable: and among broadcasters Wickham Steed is outstanding. These men all speak differently, for they are different persons. But the speech of all three approximates to standard English, and stands up to phonetic tests.

The speech of most public men in New Zealand, on the other hand, is deplorable. The intonation is often raucous, or whining. The formation of the consonants often conveys the suggestion of crippled lips or of a tongue that has got itself jammed in under a loose denture.

But I must not say too much. People are usually just as sensitive about their voices as they are about their faces. And often as not a heart of gold goes with a voice that ought to find a use as an offensive weapon in commando warfare.

I know I shall be rebuked if, having touched lightly on certain deficiencies in New Zealanders' habits of speech, I do not try to provide a remedy. I feel that the teachers are really the only people who can do much about it. The Training Colleges should make a serious attempt to establish a norm of speech. There is no need to go to extremes and produce sky-blue imitation-English voices that move the children to boisterous laughter.

There is one suggestion I would offer. I am convinced that in the process of learning to speak well, a great deal depends on rhythm and emphasis. The sing-song verse-speaking most of us were taught at school years ago is the worst possible training. The chanting of multiplication tables we used to do was thoroughly destructive of the sense of rhythm. Most New Zealanders speak with too little emphasis, too little light and page 108shade. (Sometimes, when they come to give radio talks, and feel the need for using a touch of emphasis here and there, they often put it in ludicrously wrong places.) Here, I think, we have the chief reason for the emphasis of the suffix -ly— 'quicklee', 'nicelee'. Any who had been trained in infancy in the proper use of rhythm and emphasis would naturally place the stress on 'quick' and make the second syllable a very light one.

Good English speech is neither hang-dog, nor affected and 'prissy'; nor ostentatiously 'cultured'; nor pedantically 'correct'. I contend that there is something that can be called 'standard English', and that it is a recognisable norm, which is 'objective' in that it conforms to certain phonetic requirements, and is based fundamentally on aesthetic and not social conventions.

The case for the defence rests.