EDUCATED AND UNEDUCATED

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EDUCATED AND UNEDUCATED. Contrastive terms especially in sociology and linguistics, used to refer to people who have or have not had formal schooling (usually to at least the end of secondary or high school), and to their usage. The contrast is often used to suggest a continuum (more educated/less educated), and there are three broad approaches to its use: (1) That the terms are self-evidently useful and do not risk either the self-esteem of the people discussed or the reputation of those engaged in the discussion. (2) That they can sometimes be helpful but should be used with care, because they are at least as much social as scientific judgements. A precaution often taken is to place the terms in quotation marks: an ‘educated’ speaker of English. (3) That they are best avoided unless they can be rigorously defined for certain purposes, because they risk oversimplifying or distorting complex issues and relationships and may in effect be euphemisms for distinctions of social class. The contrast appears in some contexts to be stereotypical and patronizing, implying that people are performing on an unusual level: Educated Indian English (compare Cultivated Australian). The phrase an educated accent is widely used to denote the ACCENT of someone educated to at least college level, often (for some of the time at least) at a private school, and implying (especially in Britain) that such an accent is not marked as regional, lower-class, or non-standard. See EDUCATED ENGLISH, STANDARD ENGLISH.