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  1. #1
    M56 Guest

    Default I want to write it, but not speak it.

    These statements were made in the book Standard English: The Widening Debate, Routledge (1999):

    In many schools, the issue is that to become a speaker of standard English, is to become a speaker of a, clearly marked, socially symbolic dialect.

    Many social studies have shown that no matter what the teacher does in the classroom and whatever the overall implications for assessment, children will not learn a dialect associated with a group they do not wish to belong to. By contrast, it is clear too that the minority of pupils who are already speakers of standard English as a social dialect, are unfairly advantaged. (As already stated, standard English can be spoken with any regional accent.)


    .............

    What is your opinion on those lines?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    While Standard English can be spoken with any regional accent in theory, if the regional accent is extremely strong, wouldn't there also be a high likelihood of using regional forms as well? It would be unusual to speak standard English with, say, a very thick Cockney accent. Forms like Estuary English, which head for more of a middle ground seem more likely hybrids to me.

  3. #3
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    While Standard English can be spoken with any regional accent in theory, if the regional accent is extremely strong, wouldn't there also be a high likelihood of using regional forms as well? It would be unusual to speak standard English with, say, a very thick Cockney accent. Forms like Estuary English, which head for more of a middle ground seem more likely hybrids to me.
    I think there is a strong possibility of regionalisms intruding upon standard speech, but they would normally be a case for marking a student down in a school test. I'm focussing more upon students here and the demands made uopn them by schools and education authorities. I am interested in why students refuse or resist coaching in standard speech, but do not do the same, as often, in writing. Most teachers who have responded to my questions on this have cited laziness on behalf of the student, but i think it is much more complex than that. The resistance seems to come from a very strong understanding of the divisions in social groups and of knowing where one wants to belong.

  4. #4
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    While Standard English can be spoken with any regional accent in theory, if the regional accent is extremely strong, wouldn't there also be a high likelihood of using regional forms as well? It would be unusual to speak standard English with, say, a very thick Cockney accent. Forms like Estuary English, which head for more of a middle ground seem more likely hybrids to me.
    I saw the movie "The Rat Catcher". I was surprised to see subtitles at first. I thought, "They're speaking English, aren't they? Why do they have English subtitles?" I soon found out why. I could barely understand a word they were saying. Their Scottish accents were that strong. Now, I've heard Scottish people speak before and never had any trouble understanding them. This movie, however, was different. The accents were very - very - regionalized. Now, they had heavy accents. I would not say they were speaking a "dialect". If not for the accents, I would've understood just about everything. There were only a couple expressions that were obviously not part of any AmE speech, but it was easy enough to understand the meaning.

    There are Scots-English dictionaries, I understand. However, they weren't speaking from one. The speech was standard. It was just the accent that was very strong. I think too much attention can be cast on "dialects as regionalized variations" at times. For the most part, all English speakers understand each other. I said "for the most part".

    There was a certain word someone used for "bags filled with groceries" or "purchases". I forgot what it was.

    I think I heard "tea" used for "lunch" or "dinner" as well. I forgot.
    Last edited by Steven D; 19-Sep-2005 at 00:48.

  5. #5
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I saw the movie "The Rat Catcher". I was surprised to see subtitles at first. I thought, "They're speaking English, aren't they? Why do they have English subtitles?" I soon found out why. I could barely understand a word they were saying. Their Scottish accents were that strong. Now, I've heard Scottish people speak before and never had any trouble understanding them. This movie, however, was different. The accents were very - very - regionalized. Now, they had heavy accents. I would not say they were speaking a "dialect". If not for the accents, I would've understood just about everything. There were only a couple expressions that were obviously not part of any AmE speech, but it was easy enough to understand the meaning.

    There are Scots-English dictionaries, I understand. However, they weren't speaking from one. The speech was standard. It was just the accent that was very strong. I think too much attention can be cast on "dialects as regionalized variations" at times. For the most part, all English speakers understand each other. I said "for the most part".

    There was a certain word someone used for "bags filled with groceries" or "purchases". I forgot what it was.

    I think I heard "tea" used for "lunch" or "dinner" as well. I forgot.

    Of course, there are differnent ideas of what "standard" means as well.

    People have different ideas about this, always. And I think some are rather simple - too simple.
    Last edited by Steven D; 19-Sep-2005 at 00:49.

  6. #6
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I saw the movie "The Rat Catcher". I was surprised to see subtitles at first. I thought, "They're speaking English, aren't they? Why do they have English subtitles?" I soon found out why. I could barely understand a word they were saying...

    I understand your difficulty regarding that film, I sometimes have the same problem trying to understand accents and regionalisms in American films.

  7. #7
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by M56
    These statements were made in the book Standard English: The Widening Debate, Routledge (1999):

    In many schools, the issue is that to become a speaker of standard English, is to become a speaker of a, clearly marked, socially symbolic dialect.

    Many social studies have shown that no matter what the teacher does in the classroom and whatever the overall implications for assessment, children will not learn a dialect associated with a group they do not wish to belong to. By contrast, it is clear too that the minority of pupils who are already speakers of standard English as a social dialect, are unfairly advantaged. (As already stated, standard English can be spoken with any regional accent.)


    .............

    What is your opinion on those lines?

    ESL/EFL students learn English that is acceptable and considered correct by the vast majority of English speakers. That's what they expect to be taught. They don't want regionalisms based on what one might perceive of as "dialect". These variant forms do not make a speaker sound smart. Students of English want to sound good and that want to sound smart when they speak English. ESL/EFL students have enough of a challenge with overall accuracy. I don't see the point in taxing them with statements such as "it's correct in this dialect". We all know what's expected. The same could and can be said of other languages.

  8. #8
    M56 Guest

    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    ESL/EFL students learn English that is acceptable and considered correct by the vast majority of English speakers. That's what they expect to be taught. They don't want regionalisms based on what one might perceive of as "dialect". These variant forms do not make a speaker sound smart. Students of English want to sound good and that want to sound smart when they speak English. ESL/EFL students have enough of a challenge with overall accuracy. I don't see the point in taxing them with statements such as "it's correct in this dialect". We all know what's expected. The same could and can be said of other languages.
    A very forceful post, but I wasn't really talking about dialects.

    <ESL/EFL students learn English that is acceptable and considered correct by the vast majority of English speakers. >

    If you think that all the language that ESL students learn is real English, accepted by all native speakers as correct, and that you are not being taught a specific dialect, look at this:

    http://www.educa.rcanaria.es/tea/team1/24.pdf

    You will need Adobe Reader to view that article.

    EFLese

    "Language examples and exchanges which could not possibly occur anywhere outside a language classroom!"
    Last edited by M56; 19-Sep-2005 at 01:26.

  9. #9
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Quote Originally Posted by M56
    A very forceful post, but I wasn't really talking about dialects.

    <ESL/EFL students learn English that is acceptable and considered correct by the vast majority of English speakers. >

    If you think that all the language that ESL students learn is real English, accepted by all native speakers as correct, and that you are not being taught a specific dialect, look at this:

    http://www.educa.rcanaria.es/tea/team1/24.pdf

    You will need Adobe Reader to view that article.

    EFLese

    "Language examples and exchanges which could not possibly occur anywhere outside a language classroom!"

    If you think that all the language that ESL students learn is real English, accepted by all native speakers as correct, and that you are not being taught a specific dialect, look at this: <<<

    I didn't say that was in fact the case. I said that's what they want. They want to know what people say, how they say it, and the best time to say it.

    I understand textbook language is not always language used in real life.

    It's of no consequence whether the language they learn is a dialect in technical terms or not. The fact remains that ESL/EFL students want to learn how to speak the language in an authentic way which is acceptable to, and considered correct, by the vast majority of those whose first language is English.

    For example, you speak BrE and I speak AmE. We understand each other well, and how we express ourselves falls well within the limitations of what is considered acceptable and correct by the vast majority of native speakers and perhaps all native speakers. In fact, that's not even an issue here, but it might be worth taking note of. Even the most devoted speaker of an English "dialect" cannot deny what is correct and acceptable for any circumstance and what is correct and acceptable to any speaker. Such a person might even acknowledge and be aware that his or her speech is something that falls outside of what we consider correct and acceptable.

    ESL students want real English that is correct and suits the circumstance. It's not appropriate to burden them with the idea that some inaccuracies are correct to some people that speak certain "dialects". They want to learn what is correct and accepted. They want to learn English. Nothing could be more obvious.

    That is not refutable.
    Last edited by Steven D; 19-Sep-2005 at 02:52.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: I want to write it, but not speak it.

    Living in Asia, I see less demand for so-called real English and more for standard forms. Possibly because they find the differences difficult enough, standard forms have an attraction in their certainty.

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