New York Times on the PSAT Glitch

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Wed Jun 4 00:13:37 UTC 2003

On Mon, 2 Jun 2003, Dave Wilton wrote:

#3) The idea that all forms of language are equal and equally valid flies in
#the face of what people know to be true from their experience. When a
#linguist says, for example, that Ebonics is no less valid than RP English,
#people find this absurd. They live in a world of prejudice and social
#stratification and when linguists make statements like this, people who live
#in the "real world" dismiss them as pronouncements from an ivory tower. It
#doesn't matter that facts are on the side of the linguist; facts are
#unimportant, perceptions are.

I'd rather say: There is no absolute validity. People know perfectly
well that AAVE is unacceptable in, say, a newscaster on a major network
that is not specifically targeting Black people. So it's our job to make
clear what we mean, when expressing to a general audience what among
ourselves, in our professional context, we can say as simply "AAVE is as
valid as [you name it]."

-- Mark A. Mandel

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