Monday, March 01, 2010

Hip hop slang and the demise of Standard English

Here's just a quick follow up to last week's piece on Professor Maurice Martinez and his teaching of "black English" as a non-standard variety in his university classes. In an op-ed in The Bulletin ("Philapdelphia's Family Newspaper", apparently), Jane Gilvary (who styles herself as "a red, white, and blue American from the City of Brotherly Love (who) loves Jesus, Johnny Cash, and the U.S. Constitution"... oh well, I like Johnny Cash so 1 out of 3 aint bad) attacks anyone trying to teach ebonics or black slang as doing education a disservice.

As a long-time English teacher I would concur with Professor Williams’ assertion that teachers who endorse any kind of slang in their classrooms, including hip-hop lyrics, do their students a great disservice and only sustain illiteracy. There’s an undercurrent to hip-hop slang and Ebonics that oppresses the people who use them to communicate — black or white.

Again, this kind of argument is useful material for ENGA3 Language Discourses and offers you another good style model for op-eds, as well as a more conservative take on the debate than you'll get from your average commie/liberal/descriptivist English language teacher.Personally, I think she's talking cobblers, but there you go.


nick said...

Hi, love your blog. I've added you to my blog list and used some of your ideas. Hope you don't mind.

Dan said...

Nice one, cheers Nick. I enjoyed reading your stuff too. You're not "the" Nick I did my teaching practice at Beauchamp College with all those years ago are you?

Anonymous said...

Hello Dan i'm a Christ the King(Lewisham) student my teacher introduced me to the blog lastyear and i have vistited it religously since then. I just want to say thank you for the help your blog has given on me on many occasions,keep the good work up.

Dan said...

Thanks for that. I'm glad it's been useful to you.