Standardisation and the school: norm awareness and norm tolerance in the educational domain

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This article will do two things. Firstly, it describes an empirical investigation into the norm awareness/knowledge of a group of trainee teachers in southern Germany. This investigation was carried out on the basis of questionnaires aimed at establishing how much agreement exists regarding correct' German. The findings, which indicate that there is considerable variability in the informants' judgements regarding correct' German are then presented and interpreted and the implications of this variability for pupils are discussed. In the second part of the article the author moves on to discuss critically the arguments for and against greater norm tolerance at schools, with reference to issues such as the role of a standard variety, the social and subjective dimensions of intelligibility, barriers to literacy and the implications of a more critical approach to the appropriateness' model of linguistic variation. The potential contribution of norm tolerance to an emancipatory education is discussed and the article ends with a plea for more reflection on language and on its role in the formation of individual identity and in social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-414
Number of pages22
JournalLinguistische Berichte
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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