Bad English is good? Yea or nay?

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Bad English is good? Yea or nay?

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:02 pm

“Stereotype or source of pride? 'Hillbilly' dialect makes a comeback in Appalachian renaissance.”—Christian Science Monitor, 13 July, 2015> (Sorry I get error on link here but not elsewhere - you will have to look up separately.)

I guess I can see preserving some of the old regional, native language and occasionally using it jokingly in speaking and writing (e.g., as dialect). I enjoy using my old New York Brooklynese now and again, but I wouldn’t encourage the habit of people using such dialect unintentionally.

I can understand the possibility of adults voluntarily taking a course on the subject, which is the main thrust of the article, but I get a little queasy at the thought of this idea creeping into elementary or high schools when there is so much more important material to be taught.

Ken G – July 13, 2015

PS: Skip video. I'm getting an error.

The link to the CS Monitor story can be found here — Forum Admin.

Re: Bad English is good? Yea or nay?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:48 am

Why should West Virginians not be encouraged to value and appreciate the dialect they speak with each other every day? It really does not seem fair that they should automatically be assumed to be more stupid and ignorant simply because other Americans (who apparently do not themselves have much of a leg to stand on in this regard) have decided to hold them up as exemplars of backwardness.

The blanket categorization and devaluing of people simply because of their native speech patterns or places of origin easily turns into discrimination and unfair practices, and it seems to me that we should therefore all be prepared to be a little more open-minded about people whose habits of speech differ from our own.

Re: Bad English is good? Yea or nay?

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:25 am

Erik and Ken, for me one of the key ideas in the article is,
Lizbeth Phillips, a middle school teacher in southwest Virginia, makes her students keep journals documenting how adults in their community switch between formal and casual ways of speaking.
The ability to switch codes and to be aware of which may be appropriate at any time allows native speakers to make their way in the wider world. We all do it either consciously or unconsciously. When and if these children go off to college or university they will save themselves much misunderstanding, both spoken and written, if they are in effect bi-lingual.

I agree with Erik that the preservation of local dialects is important. It can lead to greater community cohesion and identity which for many white children is missing these days. The rewriting of history so often casts the Caucasian races in a negative role. Whilst the rewriting is seen to empower this or that minority little thought is given to the impact upon innocent Caucasian children. Language can help to rebuild a positive identity.

WoZ putting away the soapbox
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

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