ERIC Number: ED158270
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Aug
Reference Count: 0
On the Notion "Standard English" in American Linguistics and Education.
Klammer, Thomas P.
Supporters of the teaching of "standard English" maintain that permitting students to retain their own dialects leads to chaos, hampers communication, and promotes ignorance. Those supporting the rights of students to retain their own dialects focus on the concept that language is constantly changing, expresses the thoughts of living people, and is part of the nurture and development of the people who use the dialects. Insistance on a standard language is an attempt to dictate to a social group how it ought to behave and hides an underlying race and class prejudice. More important to the desire for uniformity in language than linguistic theories is the pattern of ethnocentric belief and behavior (differences equal deficits) which forms the context for linguistic attitudes. In a society which treats the will of the majority as something sacred, ethnocentricity becomes coercive. Replacing the theoretic model of the homogeneous speech community with that of the heterogeneous speech community will help deal with the more basic issue of ethnocentricity. Introductory linguistics courses, grammar for teachers courses, and composition and rhetoric courses should include the notion of the heterogeneous speech community and the inherent variation of language as a springboard to understanding broader kinds of human diversity. (TJ)
Descriptors: Applied Linguistics, Bias, Cultural Differences, Elementary Secondary Education, English Education, English Instruction, Ethnocentrism, Higher Education, Language Standardization, Language Usage, Language Variation, Nonstandard Dialects, Social Bias, Sociolinguistics, Standard Spoken Usage
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Regional American Dialect Society (Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 1973)