ERIC Number: ED200976
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Standardization and the English Teacher in the Eighties.
Borodkin, Thelma L.
After 1580 the English language was no longer considered barbarous because important works had been written in it, its vocabulary had expanded, and it had been adorned with the devices of classical rhetoric. It did not have, however, a dictionary or grammar, the fourth quality that makes a language eloquent. Thus, the eighteenth century grammarians set out to "ascertain and fix" the English language, to determine the correct forms of English and prevent the language from decay by change. Their task was undermined by their failure to recognize that changes in language are often the results of forces too complex to be fully analyzed or predicted, their failure to recognize the legitimacy of divided usage or usage as the sole arbiter in linguistic matters, and their ignorance of the processes of language change. The most insidious effect of the principle of only one correct form is that students have been indoctrinated with the conviction that they are worthless because of their language. Students have a right to know that variation is characteristic of all languages, that every linguistic code is valid if it communicates a message, that some usage is wrong only because it hampers effective communication, and that the purpose of having a language standard is to facilitate communication, not to evaluate humans. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Grammarians; Language Reform
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).