Standards, Styles, and Signs of the Social Self

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In our kind of language community, using—or not using—what is termed “standard” English positions an individual as a social person according to a cultural logic of verbal “registers.” But the register phenomenon is not peculiar to language and its standardization; language reflects a more pervasive experience of cultural style and self-fashioning that links us to institutions that aspire to set the values of society as people come to define themselves by orientation or non-orientation to them.