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The evidence for the correct form of English can be found in textbooks,
style manuals, developmental English courses, and so on.

Admittedly, the correct form of English is not a static construct. There
are arenas where it is ignored, modified, and questioned. But, There is
a wide enough consensus about the correct form of English to allow for
specific, focused instruction and expectations.

David-Michael

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nic Voge
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 2:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Language, status and discrimination

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.
Thanks,
Nic

>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 moment.
>
>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 well.
>Sincerely,
>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 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.
>>>>
>>
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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

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