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TSD99 wrote:
>
> Gary Probst wrote:
>
> The following story is an example of what Pat  is telling us.
>
> > Pat Shultz wrote:
> >
> > >   I often wonder what will be the long term result of a national
> > >tolerance for, and encouragement of, extreme dialectical differences in the
> > >speaking and writing of American English.  Hypothetically at least, one
> > >possible outcome might be that people from one American state might
> > >eventually be unable to communicate with people from another.
>
> In a small Southern town there was a nativity scene that indicated great skill
> and talent in its creation. One small feature bothered me though. The three wise
> men were wearing firemen's helmets.
>
> Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.
> At a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter
> about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You darn
> Yankees never do read the Bible!"
>
> I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen
> in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled
> through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a particular
> passage.
>
> Sticking it in my face she said, "See, it says right here, 'The
> three wise men came from afar.'"
>
> > Or, the
> > >divided-city syndrome, reminiscent of the Ellis Island immigration era
> > >might be another result.  How will we communicate with one another?  Sign
> > >language?  Esperanto?  Quien sabe?
> >
> > Pat & Don and others,
> >
> > My point is not that Standard English shouldn't be taught. Of course it
> > should be taught! But it should be taught in the spirit of offering a tool
> > with which to succeed in an intolerant world, not in the spirit of calling a
> > person's regional accent "incorrect."
> >
> > Please stop perpetuating the myth of the degradation of American English.
> > There was no golden era of "correct" pronunciation and adherence to rules of
> > grammar and usage. Rules of grammar for English were only codified in the
> > late 1800's, and many mistakes of mis-applying Latin grammar to English were
> > made in the process. Many of these rules(rules against split infinitives and
> > using a preposition at the end of a sentence, for instance) are still with
> > us, in spite of having nothing to do with the Queen's English, then, now, or
> > ever.
> >
> > Right now in this country there is both a wider use of a "standard" dialect
> > and less dialectical variation than there has ever been. If anything,
> > American English is homogenizing faster than it is fracturing.
> >
> > Again, Teach Standard English, Teach Standard English! It's unfair to
> > students if you don't. But don't call a person's dialect "incorrect;" in
> > what sense could it be? Is it the word of God? (Thou shalt speak the
> > language of thy superiors.) No: it is only the in perceptions of intolerant
> > people. There are many of these people. There will always be many of these
> > people. Therefore, we need to help students learn the dialect of the path to
> > power.
> >
> > What could possibly be the pedagogical advantage of calling any student's
> > background incorrect, or a "lack of knowledge." People don't speak a dialect
> > out of a "lack of knowledge." They speak a dialect because of the presence
> > of knowlege: the knowledge of their own mother-tongue. That knowledge may
> > not be the knowledge of privilege, but it is knowledge nonetheless. If you
> > found yourself in the middle of Bombay, and someone said to you, "Aap to
> > kahaa jaane chahiye?" Would you decide that the language you know was
> > "incorrect?" No. You would probably hope you could find a patient English
> > speaker. Extend the same courtesy to people who don't speak your dialect.
> >
> > (Incidentally, India has 17 officially sanctioned languages, and hundreds
> > more dialects that vary much more extremely than those in America. India has
> > many problems, but you will find very few people in India who blame them on
> > language differences.)
> >
> > Steve Runge
> > Academic Skills Coordinator
> > St. Lawrence U.
> > Canton, NY 13617
> > [log in to unmask]
As a Texan, I can't help but wonder if the story cited is an example of
a "rural legend" (versus urban legend).  Does anyone really believe that
happened?
Gail Platt