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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

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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

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> 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.

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