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.  


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
>>> 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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