Current paper is devoted to the analysis of advantages and disadvantages of standard written English (SWE). The use of SWE is generally beneficial as its gains outweigh the losses in the sphere of written English. However, SWE should not be expanded to the sphere of oral communication. In order to prove this statement, it is necessary to specify the characteristic features of SWE and evaluate its positive and negative features.
SWE refers to a specific form of English that should be used in all forms of written communication in accordance with publishing authorities. These rules do not come from any central authority, as language tends to constantly change and no one has the right to select those principles and rules that he/ she considers as being correct and impose his/ her will on others. At the same time, there are some general rules and principles that are supported by main publishing houses. The grammar of SWE is primarily uniform and stable (Nordquist, 2013). Moreover, a large number of phrases that are widespread in oral communication are not used in SWE.
The main advantage of SWE refers to the fact that it creates the foundation for reliable communication among people from different countries and regions of the world. They do not have to know the specific dialect that exists in different parts of the world; the knowledge of SWE is enough for the successful communication. SWE may lead to the economizing of time and more accuracy in international corporations. However, some disadvantages are present. SWE is a more standardized form of communication that does not allow expressing a whole variety of subjective feelings and emotions. Moreover, people have to learn these rules that may be difficult in some cases.
As James Baldwin points out: “What joins all languages… is the necessity to confront life” (Baldwin, 1979). Various languages help to deal with social issues in different ways. SWE enables communication between different individuals regarding almost all possible issues. Its emergence is objective as the real needs exist related to the exchange of information among the members of different ethical, cultural, and religious groups. SWE fulfill these functions in the sphere of written communication. At the same time, its area of applicability should not be expanded as other forms of language are more efficient in oral and informal communication.
It seems that SWE should not be considered as being an “official” language in the US because the US is a democratic country that should respect the rights of all its citizens while SWE is applicable only in one area of social communication. People should be free to adopt those language patterns that satisfy their needs in the best possible way. It is expected that SWE will gain additional popularity among the largest transnational corporations; however, some small companies may not adopt it, if all their employees use the same dialect (Halliday, 2003).
However, nowadays, SWE is generally presented as an “official” language in the country. This decision has a number of implications for main groups of immigrants, especially for Spanish-speaking ones. It creates significant difficulties for them as SWE is not properly understood by the majority of these people. If the deep knowledge of it is required, then these people will not have an opportunity to enter the country. However, it is not beneficial for the US economy as a whole. Moreover, these people are supposed to work in those areas where this kind of knowledge is not required. Therefore, they will have to spend their time and efforts in those fields where it is not optimal from the social point of view. It seems that such artificial barriers to immigration should be removed.
If immigration is restricted in this way, then the population of the country will be lower than otherwise. Consequently, the gross output will comparatively diminish. The level of English is not supposed to increase. Even if all people become aware of SWE rules, only some of them will use it in their actual work. Thus, it should not be imposed in those spheres where it does not fulfill its functions on the necessary level.
It may be concluded that SWE is an important social invention. It originated not on the basis of the decision of the central authority but as a result of independent actions of different people that understood that they needed some standardized forms of communication. In the sphere of written language, SWE is generally beneficial for all parties. There are some disadvantages associated with the use of SWE, as people need to take additional expenses in the process of learning it. However, as SWE is adopted on a voluntary basis, it is used only by those companies and individuals that expect to benefit from its use.
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Although SWE is very efficient in the area of written communication, it should not be dominant in the sphere of oral communication. Thus, it cannot be considered as being a universal form of language that is equally applicable in all possible situations. The government should not intervene in the process of language selection. The imposition of SWE as an “official” language will create problems for immigrants from other countries. It will have significant negative consequences in the long run for both individuals and the US economy as a whole. SWE should become widespread only in those spheres where it is necessary from the point of view of organizational process.
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