Q: Why have some Southern Nationalists chosen to use Oxford spelling and writing style over the American spelling and writing style?
A: Because we do not yet have a formalized Dixian Standard English.
I have written earlier about why our language is so important, and I do agree that we need to plant our flag linguistically (or perhaps it may be better compared to a linguistic border wall), but Oxford style is not the magic bullet we need:
- We have no desire to politically re-annex ourselves to the British Empire.
- We are asserting our own identity as a separate ethnic group of British extraction, not as the ethnically British people of today.
- Many Oxfordisms are simply too alien to our people at this time to be widely, voluntarily adopted. If we want widespread adoption by our people, then we must ditch some of the Oxfordisms that serve as turnoffs to Dixians.
- Oxford Standard does not permit us to fully express our own unique language attributes, such as ya’ll.
Below are the English options available on my iPhone. (Please note, this is not the same as the region, which is set separately. One could set his language to Australian English and his region to the United States.)
- English (Australia)
- English (Canada)
- English (India)
- English (Ireland)
- English (New Zealand)
- English (Singapore)
- English (South Africa)
- English (UK)
- English (US)
With some quick googling I was able to confirm that over half of these have a formal standard (at least one style guide and/or dictionary that are recognized as authoritative) rather than simply being recognized as distinct informal dialects.
There are well over a dozen Spanish language options on my phone, including one for the US and one that I presume to be standardized across Hispanic Latin America. Even the tiny and poor country of El Salvador has its own Spanish language option.
My phone lists six versions of French, including Cajun French. I find it a bit of an embarrassment that nobody has formalized Southern English. The whole English Speaking world knows that we have our own dialect and we have the most widely spoken English dialect in North America, with more speakers than there are in Canada, Australia or New Zealand, all of which have a standardized national dialect.
My phone even has an option for Esperanto, which has no native speakers and is only spoken by a small number of language enthusiasts.
Now obviously, if we formalize a Dixian Standard English then Apple or any other company could simply refuse to acknowledge it, but what we observe today demonstrates an important point. Linguists have acknowledged that we have a common “generic Southern” which I doubt is a surprise to anybody. While we have plenty of localisms as varied as our barbecue dishes, we very much do have a common overall dialect with millions of speakers.
Southerners have already declared cultural independence from the United States and we need to assert so with a formal standard dialect. One of the big things that we can do at this time is publish a grammar and style manual and a dictionary to be used as the authoritative source. In terms of money, this is a very low cost endeavor if there is actually enough will to do the work and to agree on its adoption afterward.
Here are some considerations I can think of for the standardization of Dixian English:
- Must affirm our Anglo-Celtic extraction and historically separate culture as compared to New England or any other branch of the British diaspora.
- Must be familiar, natural, and easily adopted by Dixians under the current government and with current technology. Ease of texting is a huge advantage in popular adoption.
- Must be representative of the overall South rather than burdened with minor localisms.
- Must be presentable and receivable as a speaking and writing style for an intelligent and educated person.
These criteria of course necessitate arbitrary compromises. It is unrealistic for us to adhere to high standards of purity with respect to some pristine form that may or may not have been so widespread at some point in the past. We have been part of the US Empire for over 200 years in total, so there’s no denying that that has bled over into our language, just like the Norman conquest did for the English. It would be unrealistic for the Oxford standard to eliminate every last trace of Norman conquest and we must not purity spiral into eliminating every last trace of US conquest. The number one hurdle is to get a critical mass of users who advocate the new standard and use it in written communications for blogs, student term papers and on social media/texting. Asking them to switch from program to programme and from check to cheque is probably asking a bit much.
A Dixian English Standardisation Committee (DESC) would do best to pick and choose the most advantageous Americanisms, Oxfordisms and Southernisms to best meet the criteria listed above. The Oxford University Style Guide and Oxford Guide to English Grammar as well as the writings of great Southern thinkers and the research of modern linguists could serve as handy references.