Re: Ebonics (#747207)

Subject: Re: Ebonics (#747207)
From: wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 12:52:24 MST

>How does bad English dignify and preserve African roots? Wouldn't
>speaking proper Swahili (Kenya and Tanzania) or other African dialects
>serve better? Bad English is bad English and it don't benefit nobody.
>Plus who's to say what is standard Ebonics and what isn't? Standard bad
>English?

A dialect is a dialect. When a dialect diverges enough, it develops its own
grammatical structure and becomes a distinct language. I'm not sure if I agree
that Ebonics is its own language yet (not that I'm qualified to comment on it
specifically since I haven't studied it), but it is not inherently worse or
better than any other regional dialect from a linguistic standpoint. Ebonics
serves its purpose in certain language environments. In the mainstream business
community, it doesn't fare as well (nor does the rural Idaho dialect I hear
twanging in my ear every day).

Children learn the dialect of their peers. Some of those dialects happen to
conform to the standard more closely than others. Perhaps the fact that schools
are addressing Ebonics as a distinct dialect (or language) will help students
who speak that dialect or language learn to make distinctions on their own and
adapt their speech to the appropriate situation. Ignoring the differences
certainly hasn't worked.

Bill Burns
Assembly Documentation Supervisor
wburns -at- micron -dot- com
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