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Look who’s talking

Look who's talking

By Kathryn Hughes   June 2000

I was always rather smug about the way I spoke. Not my accent, so much as the words I used. Or rather didn’t use. I had grown up in the 1960s, when middle-class parents were fighting a rearguard action against what they called “sloppy speech.” This meant a ban on all slang and abbreviated expressions which were galloping through British post-war culture. So in our house we didn’t say “OK” (American), “telly” (lazy), or “lino” (don’t know why-we just didn’t). We asked after other people’s “mothers” not “mums,” and we didn’t say “hi” or “bye.”

My parents always maintained that…

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