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.

Getting the Word Out 2022

WOTY (Word of the Year) Season is in full swing and the lists from the various dictionaries and organisations who produce them, along with t...