ERIC Number: ED199705
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
From Black-White Speech Relationships to the Ethnography of Communication, or, Who Profits from Research?
This paper makes three arguments reaffirming the overwhelming complexities inherent in any real history of the language of blacks in North America. (1) Although the study of black English, however that term may be defined, is desirable in itself and was profitable for white linguists during the 1960s and early 1970s, it did not and never will do much to improve conditions of life among speakers of the dialect or dialects so called. State supported schools support the state, and state supported research supports the state and the researchers. (2) The opposition between creolist and dialectologist, which remains the best known product of the mainly white black-English industry, is an obstructive oversimplification of a complex history. (3) Positions called "creolist" have commonly been stated more confidently than the evidence can justify, so that in the popular mind a definition of black English as a "family of creole-based dialects" is often accepted as past question or refinement; but a better point of departure for further study would be a careful distinction between assertion and established fact and an actively inquiring agnosticism where fact is not established. (Author/RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A