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ERIC Number: EJ1007012
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
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Wolfram, Walt
Teaching Tolerance, v52 n43 p29-31 Spr 2013
Linguist Rosina Lippi-Green concludes in her book, "English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States," "Accent discrimination can be found everywhere in our daily lives. In fact, such behavior is so commonly accepted, so widely perceived as appropriate, that it must be seen as the last back door to discrimination. And the door is still wide open." While other forms of inequality, prejudice and discrimination have become more widely recognized and exposed in recent decades, language prejudice is often overlooked and, in some cases, even promoted. Voices in television cartoons frequently portray villains as accented speakers of English. Standard English is reserved for superheroes and winsome characters. Even the voices in Disney's animation reinforce stereotypes--main characters speak in Standard American or British dialects and mean or ignorant animals tend to speak in African-American English or Southern English. It's not surprising that young children develop prejudices about language differences that can accompany them through life--unless these stereotypes are challenged. There are three things teachers can do: (1) Expose students regularly to language differences in cultural context; (2) Challenge assumptions about language differences as they occur; and (3) Integrate the discussion of language variation into the conversation of cultural and regional differences.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States