views updated May 11 2018

SUBSTANDARD, also sub-standard. A semi-technical term for usage that is not STANDARD or CORRECT, such as He ain't done nothin'. A variety of speech may also be so labelled: ‘St. Mary's Lane, Lewes, is called “Simmery Lane” in local sub-standard speech’ (English Studies 45, 1964). The term has often been used academically, without necessarily intending a negative judgement: ‘In such communities the non-standard language can be divided, roughly, to be sure, and without a sharp demarcation, into substandard speech, intelligible at least, though not uniform, throughout the country, and local dialect’ (Leonard Bloomfield, Language, 1933). Many linguists and teachers nowadays object to this use, arguing that in such phrases as substandard housing the term means ‘of poor or low quality’ and that usage referred to in the same way is perceived in the same way. They consequently prefer the term NONSTANDARD. Compare DEVIANT.


views updated May 18 2018

sub·stand·ard / səbˈstandərd/ • adj. 1. below the usual or required standard: substandard housing.2. another term for nonstandard.