|Language in use||
English Language & Linguistics
Peter Trudgill, Norwich
was studied by Peter Trudgill in the 1970s to find out how and why people's
ways of speaking varied.
Trudgill notes that this feature is not unique to Norwich:
"Nearly everywhere in the Eng-speaking world we find this alternation between higher-class/formal ng and lower class/informal n. It goes back to the fact that in Old English (and later) there were two forms, a gerund ending in -ing (walking is good for you) and a present participle ending in -end (he was walking). The -end form was the ancestor of -n' and -ing (obviously) of -ing. "
The two merged - though the sorting out of the two forms in terms of prestige and "correctness" is something which occurred in the last 300 years. The famous “huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’ of upper class Edwardians shows just how recent this sorting out has been.
discovered the following:
Trudgill's figures for social class and sex differences in the use of the standard, prestige -ing form in Norwich when people used a formal style of speaking are as follows:
(-ng) in Norwich by social class and sex for Formal Style (Trudgill. 1974a)
What conclusions can you draw from this data?