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OK, but if you try to stop me saying "Iggles," we're going to have a
problem. Keep the faith, Grandmom. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Robert Ciervo
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 4:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Language, status and discrimination

Well Nic, I guess the evidence I would use could go far back to the
times when English grammar was first codified and based on Latin up
until present times when every year Mr. Webster puts forth an updated
English dictionary.  I'm positively sure anyone could argue that any
choice they made on the Test of Standard Written English was "correct" 
if they would like, but unfortunately for them there is only one correct
answer.  By the way the TSWE by the College Board actually predicts
first term English grades at Univ. of California Schools better than
there own English placement exams (I know you are at Berkeley).  

I remember doing exceedingly well on that test in high school. Far
better than I performed on the SAT.  I must thank my father who still to
this day corrects my spoken English any time I am around him, which
obviously affects my world view on this issue. His parents were the
children of poor Italian immigrants and he graduated from an inner city
public high school in Philadelphia, one in which no longer do teachers
regularly correct their students' usage of the English language.  That
is a shame. 

I still correct my grandmother when she calls the local supermarket
"Ac-a-me" even though it is spelled Acme...

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]


Nic Voge wrote:
> 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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