Hello Robert,
I appreciate you clearly stating your opposing position.
You write below, "There is a correct form of English."
  I'd like to know what evidence you have to support this claim.

>Unfortunately I must chime in here and wholeheartedly disagree. 
>There is a correct form of English and though it is extremely 
>difficult to learn and master at times, to say that there is not a 
>correct form of written and spoken English is false.  We must remove 
>the emotions from the conversation when conversing about a topic 
>such as grammar.  It is not demeaning to point out when an 
>individual submits written work with incorrect English, whether it 
>be vocabulary, grammar, or punctuation.  It is in fact a teachable 
>If we are afraid to hurt one's feelings by pointing out our students 
>mistakes, then I submit that we are all in the wrong business. 
>Again we do our students a supreme disservice by postulating a 
>position that demonstrating when a student uses an incorrect usage 
>of written or spoken English, is well "not acceptable."  To not 
>point that out is unacceptable in my opinion and unprofessional as 
>Robert L. Ciervo, Ph.D., Director
>Rutgers-Camden Learning Center
>Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Camden
>231 Armitage Hall
>311 N. Fifth Street
>Camden, NJ 08102
>(856) 225-2722
>(856) 225-6443 fax
>[log in to unmask]
>Jessica Nettles wrote:
>>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 
>>     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
>>    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
>>>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.
>>>>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
>>>> 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
>>>>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
>>>>-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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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
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