It is certainly true that educational level and social position usually walk together in most societies. Not considering that, however, and based only on how often one uses Graeco-Latin versus Anglo-Saxon derived words, is it possible to identify someone’s social status in England? In other words, upper middle-class people would tend to use Graeco-Latin derived words much more often than the poorer working-class, irrespective of other educational level markers. I am not looking for opinions, but for statements based on data and statistical analysis, just like the one below.
LEXICAL BAR - A term coined by linguist David Corson in the 1980s.
In English-speaking societies coincidences of social and linguistic history have combined to create a lexical situation that is unique among languages: most of the specialist and high status terminology of English is Greco-Latin in origin and most of the less abrstract terminology is Anglo-Saxon in origin. English in this respect, relative to other languages, has a fairly clear boundary drawn between its everyday and its high status vocabularies.
The bar is partly a function of the historically introduced and social class-based orderings of society that are associated with the division of labour: it separates the lexes of the members of conservative peripheral social groups from the dominant and high status léxicon of the language.
The author goes on to offer examples of the differences in the linguistic style of young people on opposite sides of the bar: "I dunno, there's times when I think there are a few laws I'd like to stop but....don't know any I'd like to bring in." (London, poorer working-class 15-year-old) and "I don't think I'd introduce many new ones but I would abolish quite a few. (London, upper middle-class 15-year-old) References: 1. Corson, D., The Lexical Bar, Pergamon Press, 1985.