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ERIC Number: EJ783674
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Dialects, Gender, and the Writing Class
Shafer, Greg
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v35 n2 p169-178 Dec 2007
On the first day of English composition, students unleash a torrent of reasons why writing scared them as they write their opening day personal autobiographies. Most comments focus on reasons that have little to do with the craft or complexities of great writing. Numerous students bemoan their use of "substandard" English, thinking that their ways with words create a deficit rather than a difference. What emerges from too many students, which is a concern for many other instructors, is a curious mixture of fear and ignorance about language in general and writing in particular. Despite the incredible range of registers they use in speaking with friends and college faculty--and their efficacy in adjusting their speech to the linguistic context--most students are convinced that they cannot write and that their use of language is deficient because they have not been taught enough proper English rules. In this article, the author questions monolithic notions of Standard English by exploring dialects, gender, and the complexities of language in various social and cultural contexts.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A