I am doing Masters in English Literature, In one of the books I read that there is nothing like 'Wrong English', there are so many dialects in the wrold that each type of English is correct English.

And to examplify there are some sentences:

"I aint do nothing"

"I don't do nothing"

Although there are two negatives in the sentence which makes it positive and according to standard English it is the wrong form.But it is the correct form in many regions of the world.

They also argue that there is no "standard English" , because with respect to region, standards of English change.

Now this all is very confusing for me because okay I got the idea that there are different dialects and each type of sentence formation is supposed to be correct in one or another English. But then why people make fun if someone writes,speaks English which defies the standards of English/American-English?

If this 'No worng English' is a widely acepted idea(I'm assuming it is, as it appears in text books) then why there is no awareness of it?I hadn't heard about it prior doign Masters.

Is it accepted by native English Speakers?

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    As a Maters[sic] student, you should probably get into the habit of spell- and grammar-checking your writing. – 5arx Sep 26 '16 at 12:41
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    There is wrong English. It's just not something you'd be likely to hear out of the mouths of native speakers. "Not nothing mine to do am" is pretty clearly wrong, for example. – herisson Sep 26 '16 at 12:42
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    What @suməlic said. There are many errors in the above question text which native speakers simply wouldn't make. This makes them completely different to, say, I didn't do nothing, because when we hear/read something like that we simply assume poorly-educated and/or colloquial speech. But when we read ...then why there is no awareness about it? we know straight away it's from a non-native speaker, because it's really "wrong". – FumbleFingers Sep 26 '16 at 12:53
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    There is an argument which says that if words or expressions are used by a number of people claiming to speak "English", then it is indeed correct English. I have never had any commitment from such advocates as to how many constitutes "a number" here. Bear in mind there are different registers as well as dialects. Whilst I might say aint to some bloke selling wares in the street, I am unlikely to use it in a university essay, unless in the form of reported speech. – WS2 Sep 26 '16 at 12:55
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    There are many different opinions on this topic, ranging from arguments that only one version of English (oddly that of the speaker) is "proper" to a full "anything goes" attitude. Most folks position themselves somewhere in the middle. At the very least you're better understood if you use a style which is familiar to your listeners. – Hot Licks Sep 26 '16 at 12:55

The extreme form of "no correct English" must surely be the assertion that everyone has their own idiolect, which is not only specific to the individual, but also specific to a period of that individual's life.

However, for communication to occur, both speaker and listener must share some parts of their idiolects in common. With the presence of families, communities and especially schools that teach some kind of standardised English to a local population, we then have the concept of dialects of English. People who conform to the dialect are said to speak correct English, and those that don't, speak wrong English - at least according to those who speak that dialect well.

This can be pushed up further, so that books that are understood globally must use (or must establish) standards of English that are accepted by many, if not all, English dialects. Those standards can be codified and used to gauge the 'correctness' or some other purportedly English utterance. However, it will by necessity miss the nuances or peculiarities of particular dialects.

So I think that any notion of a correct or wrong English must start by identifying a population, and then encode the common patterns of language used within that group. Calling a sentence correct or wrong English assumes that the population is international, and the patterns are those commonly accepted globally. If the patterns in question are specific to a particular population, one should then speak of correct or wrong English for a specified population.

  • Further, the eminent grammarians Quirk and Svartvik declared that many constructions are not 'totally acceptable' or 'totally unacceptable' to say a particular usage panel, but lie on a gradience. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 26 '16 at 18:08

"In one of the books" - You really need to tell us which book and, if possible, give us a link.

It sounds as though someone started with the following idea:

In some parts of the world, people's natural way of speaking English does not conform to standard English; however, in their cultural context, their version of English is well understood, and considered normal. I'm not sure if the author of your book is an extremist, or if there was a misunderstanding along the way, but the following two ideas from your post sound like overstatements to me:

"I don't do nothing" ... is the correct form in many regions of the world.

Let's take as an example, some rural areas in the United States where one might frequently hear "I don't do nothing". Even in these places, when the five-year-old begins school, s/he will be gently encouraged by the teacher to express this idea in standard English: "I don't do anything."

They also argue that there is no "standard English".

If that were true, why would we have dictionaries and manuals of style?

  • The point being made was probably that standard English is not uniform. If it were, in theory we wouldn't need more than one manual of style. In practice, different people have different opinions about what is standard and what isn't. – herisson Sep 27 '16 at 0:07
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    @suməlic - sure, but can you think of a published manual of style in which "I don't do nothing" is accepted? – aparente001 Sep 27 '16 at 2:02

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