Download Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice by John Baugh PDF

By John Baugh

The media frenzy surrounding the 1996 answer through the Oakland tuition Board introduced public recognition to the time period "Ebonics", but the notion is still a secret to so much. John Baugh, a widely known African-American linguist and schooling professional, deals an available clarification of the origins of the time period, the linguistic fact at the back of the hype, and the politics in the back of the outcry on each side of the talk. utilizing a non-technical, first-person sort, and bringing in lots of of his personal own reports, Baugh debunks many commonly-held notions in regards to the method African-Americans communicate English, and the result's a nuanced and balanced portrait of a fraught topic. This quantity may still attract scholars and students in anthropology, linguistics, schooling, city reviews, and African-American experiences

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Example text

Indentured servants, who followed thereafter from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, often spoke uneducated nonstandard English dialects. The most critical distinction among different immigrant speakers of English lies not in their particular countries of origin but, rather, because in the fact that enslaved Africans—unlike English settlers and many indentured servants—came to America against their own free will and with no prior knowledge of English. Here, the history of American education assumes significant relevance because slaves, along with the indigenous Indian population, were denied access to schools by law.

Although their speech was drawn from the outcast dialects of England, it was able to acquire elite provincial stature within the colonial context. Thus the establishment of American standard English differs considerably from the establishment of British standard English, which traces its beginnings to the speech of royalty. Such was the case throughout Europe: Royalty influenced linguistic standards in Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and elsewhere. In essence, these royal linguistic norms represent the standards by which these languages are evaluated today in Europe; however, they differ considerably from the neolinguistic standards by which these languages are judged today in such former European colonies as Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States.

Viewed in this light, it is easy to comprehend the linguistic consternation that Ebonics has evoked in the minds of its many detractors, for they see it as both moving in exactly the wrong educational direction and being racially divisive. After all, black Americans do not have a monopoly on nonstandard English, as illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. So, why should we assume that black students who speak nonstandard English are any different from other immigrants who speak nonstandard English (see Sowell 1997; chapter 9, this volume)?

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