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I was born in Spalding, Lincolnshire, on 18 March, 1946 
My dad came from a local village, Pinchbeck, and my mum from Sheffield. They both spoke non-standard English of different kinds, so I was brought up speaking a dialect as my first form of English. When I went to the council school at the age of five, my teacher told me I didn’t speak properly and that that would have to change. Of course, I already spoke standard English as did my parents. I just hadn’t felt it to be as much mine and my family’s as our dialect. My experience of language, translation and the English public sphere began then in 1951.

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