ERIC Number: ED022155
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-May
Reference Count: 0
Detroit Speech: Careless, Awkward, and Inconsistent, or Systematic, Graceful, and Regular?
Shuy, Roger W.
Elementary English, v45 n5 May 1968
Many English language arts teachers consider the nonstandard English of their students as being "slovenly or nonverbal or inexact or lazy." These same teachers often have been trained in the "false assumptions of a single universally accepted norm of English." These positions, the author states, are both fallacious and dangerous because these teachers fail to point out that everyone speaks a class dialect of some sort. Furthermore, their descriptions of language differences between various groups constitute value judgments rather than objective statements about these differences. Simple statements about one style of speech have become passe since Labov's research on stylistic variation within social dialects, which found that representatives of every social dialect speak in different styles in different situations. The potential usefulness of the author's Detroit Dialect Study (described briefly in this article) will provide at least two kinds of help to the elementary teacher--(1) by identifying the specific phonological and grammatical features and processes which characterize different groups, and (2) by investigating the nature of the students' language problems--these problems frequently stemming from interference of the students'"home" dialect with the "school" dialect. (See related document AL 001 422.) (AMM)
Descriptors: Dialect Studies, English Instruction, Field Interviews, Inner City, Interference (Language), Language Arts, Language Styles, Social Dialects, Social Stratification, Social Structure, Standard Spoken Usage, TENL
National Council of Teachers of English, 508 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Ill. 61820 ($.75).
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English, Champaign, IL. Commission on the English Language.
Identifiers: Michigan (Detroit)
Note: Article in On the Dialects of Children (a reprint from Elementary English).