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ERIC Number: ED331327
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Bidialectal Literacy in the United States.
Wolfram, Walt
The relationship between bidialectalism and literacy in the United States is discussed. The primary issue addressed is whether the spoken language of dialectally divergent groups creates a linguistic mismatch that creates problems in the acquisition of literacy skills. First, the controversy over use of dialect readers, which incorporate nonstandard grammatical forms typical of the vernacular community, to help speakers of non-standard English gain literacy skills is reviewed and examined from a sociolinguistic viewpoint. The need to consider simple linguistic as well as cultural differences as a factor in reading failure among vernacular-speaking populations is emphasized. A perspective on language variation is offered for practitioners. This approach acknowledges systematic differences between dialects in the sound-symbol relationship and in grammar, which result in miscues. Implications for both instruction and assessment are noted. For vernacular dialect speakers learning literacy skills, an open discussion of language prejudice, a brief examination of the legitimate history of the vernacular dialect, and an examination of exemplary structures is seen as valuable in moving learners to a less stigmatized view of their dialect. For learners of English as a Second Language, it may be useful to incorporate language variation into literacy instruction. A 12-item bibliography is included. (MSE) (Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Literacy Education)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A