ERIC Number: ED022154
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-May
Reference Count: N/A
Variations in Standard American English.
McDavid, Raven I., Jr.
Elementary English, v45 n5 May 1968
A discussion of nonstandard varieties of English implies a standard variety. What "standard" English actually is should be defined in order to approach it in the classroom. C.C. Fries described it as the variety used by those who hold positions of trust and respect and conduct the important affairs of a community. This definition admits that what is prestigious today may not be tomorrow. Further, the standard language is not an ideal of which the nonstandard varieties are degenerate versions. They do not necessarily have even the same origins. Nor is the standard language necessarily a monolithic entity--in the United States there are many varieties of standard American English, reflecting the divisions of cultural history. Because each of the American settlements was founded independently, with strong local and regional loyalities, there is diversity of culture--one manifestation of which is diversity in the standard language. Every American community is the result of selected immigrations; in every one there has been dialect mixture from the very beginning. The result is regional differences in the way educated Americans talk, and even write. The author warns the teacher attempting to "improve" his students' English that he should first be aware that in the United States and Canada one may utter the same message in a number of different ways and still speak the standard language. (AMM)
Descriptors: American Culture, Dialects, English Instruction, Geographic Regions, Grammar, North American English, Pronunciation, Standard Spoken Usage, Vocabulary
National Council of Teachers of English, 508 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Ill. 61820.
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English, Champaign, IL. Commission on the English Language.
Note: Article in "On the Dialects of Children" (a reprint from Elementary English).