The use of Standard English compared to non-standard or regional varieties is often determined by the context, audience, and purpose of communication. Understanding these dynamics is crucial to effective communication.
Starting with Standard English, this form is generally expected and used in professional and academic settings due to its universal acceptability and the clear, precise communication it allows. These situations often necessitate adherence to certain standards and formality levels for clarity and understanding, especially where communication errors can have significant implications.
For instance, in a corporate environment such as a multinational company, Standard English is the norm for emails, presentations, meetings, and other forms of communication. It ensures that regardless of the employees’ geographical and cultural backgrounds, everyone speaks and understands the same language, thereby reducing misunderstandings and promoting efficient communication.
Similarly, in educational settings, Standard English is used for teaching, academic writing, textbooks, examinations, etc. For example, in preparing for PSLE examinations under the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) and Ministry of Education (MOE), the use of Standard English is essential to understand questions, write responses, and interpret educational materials accurately.
In the world of news and media, Standard English is used for clarity and accessibility. From print media such as newspapers and magazines to digital platforms and broadcast media, the use of Standard English ensures the news and messages reach the widest possible audience.
On the other hand, non-standard or regional English varieties often have a place in more casual, informal settings, providing a sense of identity and community. These varieties include slang, colloquialisms, and dialects that reflect a particular region’s culture, history, and way of life.
In everyday conversation among friends and family, non-standard English often appears. For instance, one might use local slang while chatting with friends during a sports event or use colloquial phrases during a casual shopping trip. This helps to build camaraderie and express familiarity and can make the interaction more relaxed and personal.
In creative works such as literature, music, and films, non-standard or regional varieties of English are often used to lend authenticity, convey a particular setting or character, or evoke specific emotions. Song lyrics or dialogues in movies, for example, might include local dialect or slang to make them more relatable and engaging for the audience.
Traveling to different regions or countries often exposes individuals to local dialects or non-standard English varieties. Engaging with these versions of English can deepen the travel experience, providing insights into local culture, history, and ways of life.
In sum, both Standard English and non-standard or regional varieties have their unique uses and significance. The key is to understand when and where to use each to communicate effectively and appropriately.