Ever since the term ‘Estuary English’ came into existence, there has been a
considerable amount of discussion over the concept it represents, and linguists warn it is a highly controversial issue.
The controversies that Estuary English arouses concern the term itself, as well
as the nature of the concept.
Honey is both a populist and a highly successful self-publicist. Language is Power has attracted much attention in the British press, most of it positive, and it is not difficult to understand why given the arguments he is advancing. Broadly speaking, he advocates that 'standard' English should be taught in schools and that a body, official or unofficial, should be set up to regulate disputed usages and manage language change.
In this paper, I attempt a characterisation of Standard English. It should be noted that this is indeed a characterisation rather than a strict definition - language varieties do not readily lend themselves to definition as such.
If we ask what the origins of "English” are, the answers will be found in the textbooks and are well known. If we ask what the origins of "standard English” are, with one or with two initial capital letters, the textbooks have no answer.