what do you think about ebonics being taught in the school system
I think ebonics doesn't need to be taught. The students either speak it or they don't. If they speak it they don't need to have it taught to them. If they don't speak it they don't need to have it taught to them. Ebonics is limited in its utility. On the other hand, standard English is understood everywhere. Teach them standard English. They will need to know it.
Teach it whom? To its speakers or to those who don't speak it? I'm not sure why it needs to be taught. Whether it should be accepted and recognised is another question. In a globalised society, there is a need to speak a more standard form of English, so the speaker who cannot code switch and speak a more standar English would be at an econmoic disadvantage, which brings into question whether teaching it is genuinely in the child's interests. Just to look at the question from the child's cutlure is to oversimplify a complex question.
Ebonics in school
I think (or I hope) that the question he meant to ask was, "Should Ebonics be a teaching tool in schools?" No school board has ever suggested teaching Ebonics to anyone in a sense that one teaches a foreign language. School boards like the famous Oakland, CA, school board and one in Michigan have suggested that familiarizing teachers with AAVE (African American Vernacular English) so that they can teach Standard American English (SAE) in a compare/contrast method will improve AAVE speakers' abilities to compete in all areas of life. If an AAVE speaker is taught that his way of speaking is not bad and that SAE is different and here's why, he will understand his math teacher, his science teacher, his boss at work, his university professors, and his employees later in life. Without a compare/contrast method and with a teacher who is misinformed (who thinks, for example, that AAVE is simply lazy or stupid English), an AAVE speaker will not do as well in life. After all, AAVE is a language with rules of its own.
Quoting Professor John Rickford of Stanford University, "The single biggest mistake people make about AAVE is dismissing it as careless, or lazy speech, where anything goes. As with all spoken languages, AAVE is extremely regular, rule-governed, and systematic." (http://www.stanford.edu/~rickford/eb...sExamples.html)
There is no reason to teach ebonics in the school system. The problem is that many children from economically deprived areas learn ebonics at home. When they get to school, they have problems learning standard English. Some have suggested that teachers in these areas should learn ebonics so that they can communicate with the students until they are able to teach the students standard English. I believe that this is a valid approach. Some linguists have made this a cause and have called for the preservation of this rich language dialect. Others more in touch with reality correctly point out that if children do not learn how to read and write standard English they will be condemned to a life of unskilled labor, poor wages, and endless poverty. Some linguists don't seem to get that.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Re: Ebonics in school
I have read the same from other linguists. The single biggest mistake that these linguists make is to think that employers or college admissions boards care whether the language errors inherent in ebonics are regular. The Oakland School Board tried to have ebonics classified as a foreign, West African based language so they could qualify for federal ESL money. The problem is that it bears little resemblance to any West African language and the most of the children and their parents have never been to West Africa. I agree with the notion that teachers have to learn some ebonics, but only to hasten its elimination from the students. These kids deserve an equal shot and ebonics will not help them get one.
Originally Posted by angbabie
By Anonymous in forum Linguistics
Last Post: 18-Apr-2006, 03:24
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