I could not understand the meaning of the phrase in a sentence in shawn loewen's book Key concepts in second language acquisition:


A phenomenon in which language speakers overuse language rules in contexts where they do not apply. Often, the linguistic form being overused is seen as being socially more prestigious.

I guess a meaning is that being famous in social, but it's very strange and make no sense when put it in the whole context, because I can't understand how can the hypercorrection which is a wrong use of rules is prestigious.

  • I also find it odd, because I can't imagine what kind of prestige isn't social. I'm tempted to consider the inclusion of the word "socially" as a pleonasm. Jul 19, 2016 at 11:56
  • @GaryBotnovcan Pleonasm, and how. Ploewen must have been paid by the word. The sentence is a train wreck. "Overuse of the linguistic form is often seen as more prestigious." He also gets extra points for "being" clauses in both subject and predicate. Jul 19, 2016 at 21:30
  • If we're suggesting improvements: "Often, the overused form is seen as prestigious." That the form is linguistic is clear from context. The distinction between having and lacking prestige makes more sense than a global gradation of prestige. The implication that the form's prestige contributes to its overuse is lost when the overuse itself is the subject of the clause. However, the pleonasm might be purposeful, as a segment of the intended audience are ESL students. Jul 20, 2016 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


The meaning of the phrase being socially more prestigious here is making the speaker appear to be of a higher social, economic, or academic class:

The sense is that "overuse of the linguistic form" will create the impression that the speaker is highly educated, or otherwise a member of an advanced social class.

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