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ERIC Number: ED129103
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Of Natural and Unnatural Dialect Differences: When the Standard Is the Deviant.
Foster, Joseph F.
Current research in linguistic typology shows some syntactic processes, such as rightward dislocation of modifiers, to be characteristic of certain types of languages, and that a language of that type without such processes is "unnatural" and likely to develop them. For instance, almost all languages with order Verb-Object (VO) have dislocation rules of the kind which relate these sentences: (1) We got a tape which did nothing but hum from the President. (2) We got a tape from the President which did nothing but hum. Sentence (2) is generally regarded as ungrammatical in Prescribed Standard English (PSE), but since all English dialects are SVO, the version of PSE which disallows (2) is typologically deviant and teachers pushing this dialect will rarely be successful. Other syntactic processes appear typologically neutral. In Standard Highland English (SHE), for instance, simple subject pronouns are nominative (I went fishing.), but all others, including conjoined subjects, are in the accusative (Me and him went fishing.) Neither type appears more natural to VO languages than the other, and teachers do meet with some success in this area. But the usual teaching technique concentrates on the case marking of subjects and promotes the spread of a hybrid dialect in which conjoined objects enter the nominative case. Teaching success may improve by making SHE speakers more conscious of their own fundamental system, and then showing them how SE differs from it by ignoring conjunction altogether. (Author/KM)
Publication Type: Books
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A