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ERIC Number: ED551306
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 273
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-6336-5
An Assessment of Language Attitudes towards African American Vernacular English
Miller, Nikole D.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Speakers of stigmatized varieties are often judged as less educated and less competent than speakers of prestigious varieties. This can have profound effects on speakers' academic achievement and language assessment in schools. Linguists' efforts to destigmatize AAVE have included providing commentary in media outlets, publishing scholarly works, and developing reference materials about AAVE. On a localized level, a dialect awareness course may be suitable in addressing the misrepresentation of AAVE by demonstrating that nonstandard varieties are not ungrammatical or merely slang. However, there is lack of research regarding the effectiveness of such techniques. It remains unclear whether dialect awareness courses are effective in changing attitudes towards a nonstandard variety. The current study is set up to determine attitudes of students towards AAVE by investigating the effect of a dialect awareness course on language attitudes of undergraduate students attending a large Midwestern university. During the 15-week course, the 120 students enrolled learned about the background and structure of AAVE. Topics included discussing what AAVE is, social and ideological factors affecting its representation in the media and within the African American community, distinguishing AAVE from slang, grammatical features and possible origins of AAVE, and educational approaches to teaching children whose home speech is AAVE. In the 2009-10 academic year, a questionnaire was administered to students enrolled in the dialect awareness course, and to students in a general linguistics course and a biology course. The results show that the dialect awareness course is most effective at changing student attitudes towards AAVE as a linguistic variety. Upon completion of the dialect awareness course, students perceive AAVE as a distinct dialect of English rather than as slang or incorrect English. However, the dialect awareness course had minimal effect on students' perceptions of AAVE-speakers and acceptability of AAVE use. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A