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Subject:

Re: Language, status and discrimination

From:

Evanthia Rosati <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 21 Feb 2007 09:13:09 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (322 lines)

This is an excellent point!

"Walters, Billy J." wrote:

> I agree with Bill Cosby.  "If you want to be successful, you must learn
> to speak and write in a way that is acceptable in the business world."
> I live in the South and I have no problem understanding the traditional
> southern expressions, however, companies doing business nationally and
> internationally will not hire employees who express themselves using
> that dialogue.
>
> Billy Walters
> Director, Academic Support Services & Distance Education
> Columbia State Community College
> 1665 Hampshire Pike
> Columbia, TN 38401
> Phone: 931-540-2705
> FAX: 931-540-2702
> [log in to unmask]
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nic Voge
> Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 11:30 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Language, status and discrimination
>
> Makes sense, David-Michael, as far as it goes. People do, indeed, use
> different registers to talk with people of different statuses and in
> different situations (e.g. formal vs. informal.), but of course the
> issue is that what is considered "formal" and "organized" speech is
> not the same for all speech communities. What is organized writing to
> me is not the same for many East Asian writers, what is organized
> story-telling for me is often not the same for Native Hawaiian
> speakers (Google "talk story"), and the narrative structures of many
> African-American speech communities have different features than the
> story grammars of many Standard American English speaking
> communities. By what criteria do we determine whether someone's
> communication is "organized" and "formal"? Communication is rooted in
> conventions and thus reciprocal expectations. I think we need to be
> careful that we don't equate "not meeting our expectations" with
> "disorganized". If we don't, then "organized" merely becomes a proxy
> for correct or proper. As critical listeners and speakers shouldn't
> we take as our goal (if not responsibility) to understand our
> interlocuters from their points of view and thus try to see how their
> speech is organized and formal TO THEM?
>
>  From this perspective the perfectly reasonable dictum you state below
> can be turned around: An educated person should be able to understand
> people even if they don't communicate in the ways that such a person
> would consider formal and organized.
>
> Best,
> Nic
>
> >My approach to this issue is to remind students that everyone
> >communicates differently with different people. For example, the
> >language we use with our parents is usually different from the language
> >we use with our friends. An educated person should be able to
> >communicate in a formal, organized manner.
> >
> >David-Michael Allen, Ph.D.
> >Donnelly College
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
> >[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jessica Nettles
> >Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:32 AM
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Subject: Re: Language, status and discrimination
> >
> >I also agree with Nic. While society designates some language varieties
> >as "low-status," there is no true "correct" or "incorrect" English. I
> >find it to be much more productive to spend time explaining how
> students
> >can use "standardized" English to their advantage, and how
> >"standardization" can help them be understood by a larger audience. I
> >find this to be an ah-ha moment for many of my students that do speak
> >and write in a "low status" form of English. I also like to emphasize
> >that none of us really speak "standardized" English, but we speak (and
> >often write) the language we're most often exposed to. To tell them
> that
> >the language they learned from birth is "incorrect" is demeaning, and
> >defeats the purpose of teaching standardized English. As native
> >Georgian, I know that there are infinite versions of English that are
> >spoken, and even the pidgeon languages such as our own Geechee and
> >Gullah languages add spice and variety to the symphony of language that
> >we hear every single day. To say it's incorrect is not acceptable.
> >
> >Of course, everyone else has probably said this before...
> >Jess
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >Jessica Nettles
> >Instructor of Developmental English and Reading Chattahoochee Technical
> >College, Main Campus Room B-152
> >(770) 528-4544
> >[log in to unmask]
> >
> >
> >"Nature is a haunted house--but Art--is a house that tries to be
> >haunted."
> >Emily Dickinson
> >
> >________________________________
> >
> >From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals on behalf of
> beth
> >kupper-herr
> >Sent: Tue 2/13/2007 8:21 PM
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Subject: Language, status and discrimination
> >
> >
> >
> >Similar to Black English, Hawaiian Creole English (HCE -- popularly
> >known as "Hawaiian pidgin") is also a low-status language.  (It is, in
> >fact, linguistically distinct from English and has its own grammatical
> >structure and intonation pattern.)  Generations of native speakers of
> >HCE have referred to their language as "broken English", and it is
> >regarded by many
> >-- including many employers -- as less desirable or acceptable than
> >standard American English.  For many native HCE speakers, the adaptive
> >solution has been to learn standard English and to "code-switch"
> between
> >the two languages as appropriate to the situation.  I believe it's
> >possible for people to do this as a practical strategy without feeling
> >like they are inferior.  I also agree with Nic that a dualistic view of
> >language is not productive.
> >
> >    beth
> >
> >)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
> (
> >(((
> >
> >Beth Kupper-Herr
> >Professor
> >Coordinator, Learning Resource Center
> >Leeward Community College
> >96-045 Ala Ike
> >Pearl City, HI  96782
> >e-mail:  [log in to unmask]
> >phone/voice mail:  (808) 455-0413
> >
> >)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
> (
> >(((
> >
> >>  Rae,
> >>  Thanks for picking this thread back up.
> >>  When thinking of language variety or dialect (not "accent"), I think
> >>  it is important to make a distinction between the rule-governed
> nature
> >
> >>  of a variety of language and its social, political and economic
> >>  status. This distinction is suggested by the quote from McClendon
> >>  below. He points out that "Black English" (note that not all Black
> >>  people speak this variety, and persons who would not be considered
> >>  black do, in fact, speak this variety) has features he likes, but
> that
> >
> >>  speaking it can lead to being discriminated against.
> >>  That is, because the language is low status, those who speak it may
> be
> >
> >>  treated as low status, denied access to full participation in our
> >>  society, and judged inferior in some way. So, while so-called Black
> >>  English is as legitimate a variety of  language as any other in
> terms
> >>  syntax, phonology, morphology, etc. it is not considered legitimate
> by
> >
> >>  most in dominate positions in our society. This is a social
> judgement,
> >
> >>  not a linguistic one. Few, if any, linguists would say that Standard
> >>  American English is "better" linguistically than Black English. Why,
> >>  indeed, should we even use dualisms of "better and worse", "correct
> >>  and incorrect" when thinking about language? Is green "better" than
> >>  orange? Is a chicken an incorrect variety of bird because it does
> not
> >>  fly?
> >>
> >>  So, I would ask Mr McClendon, "better" for what? Better
> grammatically?
> >
> >>  Linguistic evidence doesn't support that claim. Better in terms of
> >>  having access to power? I would agree. But at what price to these
> >>  speakers do we seek to change their ways of speaking to be like the
> >>  standard?
> >>
> >>  So, when we as educators attempt to  "improve" our students'
> >>  dialects, we need to be aware that we are not teaching "correct"
> >>  English, but rather, "conventional" and "codified" English that
> >>  reflects the ways of speaking of those who do the codifying.
> >>  Nic
> >>
> >>
> >>>  Our College recently invited writer, diversity trainer and talk
> show
> >>>  host Garrard McClendon to speak on his new book "Ax or Ask? The
> >>>  African American Guide to Better English."  Our student newspaper
> ran
> >
> >>>  an article on McClendon.  He is quoted as saying, "I love Black
> >>>  English, it's comfortable, rhythmic, but use it all the time and
> you
> >>>  can be discriminated against. Sometimes we blame things on color,
> >>>  when it could be dialect."  He reminded the audience that there is
> no
> >
> >>>  such word as "squoze" or "irregardless."  In addition to his book,
> >>>  McClendon has created a website blackenglish.com to further educate
> >>>  African Americans.
> >>>
> >>>  I, myself, have not reviewed his book; and I have briefly visited
> his
> >
> >>>  website.  You may find one or both helpful.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>  Rae M. Maslana, M.Ed., NCC, LPC
> >>>  Certified Learning Center Leadership Professional - Level 4 College
> >>>  of DuPage Coordinator, Tutoring Services Academic Support Center,
> IC
> >>>  3040
> >>>  (630) 942-3681
> >>>  and
> >>>  C.O.D. Counselor
> >>>  (630) 942-4804 - Westmont Center
> >>>  (630)942-4603 - Addison Center
> >>>
> >>>  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
> >>>  matter.
> >>>  -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
> >
> >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
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> >
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> >
> >
> >
> >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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> >
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> >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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> --
>
> Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention,  through
> the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in
> the world, with the world, and with each other. --Paolo Freire
>
> Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
> Study Strategies Program Coordinator
> University of California, Berkeley
> Student Learning Center
> 136 Cesar Chavez Student Center  #4260
> Berkeley, CA 94720-4260
>
> (510) 643-9278
> [log in to unmask]
> http://slc.berkeley.edu
>
> Spring 2007 Office Hours
>        By Appointment:
>           Monday 10-11
>           Wednesday 10-11
>           Thursday 11-1
>           Friday 10-11, 2-4
>        Drop-in:
>           Tuesday 3-4
>           Wednesday 4-5
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
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> browser to
> http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>
> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your web browser to
> http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
>
> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]

--
Evanthia O. Rosati
Reading and Study Skills Specialist
The Learning Center
[log in to unmask]
(847)635-1795

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. "
- Albert Einstein

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
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