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ERIC Number: ED309404
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Politics of Error: A Critique and a Proposal.
Mahala, Daniel
The function of basic writing in the university is to teach students whose language practices are most distant from prestige forms to use language in ways which will enable their advancement in college and in the world outside. In composition studies, the awareness that the intelligent activity of students can produce apparently "incoherent" prose requires appeals for the research community to decide what truly is or is not an error, and to monitor stages of growth in individual basic writers. The new research on error counsels instructors to read students' writing in context, which requires looking beyond a writer's "idiosyncratic grammar" to the broader network of relations between language and power that make basic writers' grammars what they are. To help students see their struggle with prestige forms of literacy in the context of the social stratification of language and power in American culture, they should read a variety of academic writings on ethnography, language, and literature. Whereas error researchers talk of development in mostly broad terms--replacing an erroneous rule with a conventional use--the ethnographic approach sanctions an interchange between cultures, legitimizing cultural differences by recognizing them as a primary object of study. (KEH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A