ERIC Number: ED475742
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
African American Vernacular English and Dialect Awareness in English Departments.
This paper examines the importance of teaching about non-standard dialect awareness in English departments, focusing on African American Vernacular English (AAVE). The paper asserts that it is the job of teachers to present students with appropriate knowledge about language and to raise awareness of nonstandard dialects, rather than perpetuate myths. The paper suggests that despite college educators' attempts to address issues facing AAVE-speaking students and provide solutions, the U.S. public remains in opposition. When linguists began studying AAVE in the 1960s, the goal was to find connections between AAVE and reading failure in order to create solutions to help children succeed in acquiring standard English. This remains a main focus of AAVE research today. Researchers have discovered deep social and political implications in this work that create roadblocks to discovering and implementing new teaching strategies and gaining public support for validation of nonstandard varieties such as AAVE. The paper suggests that college English teachers have the ability and the social responsibility to effect change in the outside community through teaching, research, and writing, cautioning that they must begin the process by examining their own biases and beliefs about nonstandard dialects. (Contains 12 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Society for Caribbean Linguistics Conference (14th, West Indies, August 14-17, 2002).