printability and standardization

Margaret Ronkin ronkinm at
Sat Jan 10 17:41:51 UTC 2004

The Linguistic Society of America's resolution on Ebonics, which certainly applies to me, is here:

Note point 4 especially:

4.There is evidence from Sweden, the US, and other countries that speakers of other varieties can be aided in their learning of the standard variety by pedagogical approaches which recognize the legitimacy of the other varieties of a language. From this perspective, the Oakland School Board's decision to recognize the vernacular of African
American students in teaching them Standard English is linguistically and pedagogically sound.

----- Original Message -----
From: Ronald Kephart <rkephart at>
Date: Saturday, January 10, 2004 11:33 am
Subject: Re: printability and standardization

> At 6:11 PM -0500 1/9/04, Christina Paulston wrote:
> >Would any of you white linguists really want to argue that your
> >superior linguistic knowledge gives you the right to argue with
> >inner city Black parents that their children should learn to read
> >in AAVE...
> I'm not sure that "argue" is the mode I would want to engage in.
> But
> as a "white" linguist, I have no problem explaining to them what
> the
> research shows about these matters and then leaving the ultimate
> decision to them. They are rational people, after all; I think we
> have a responsibility to see to it that they should have all the
> information they need to make informed decisions. Truth, as
> uncovered
> by rational inquiry, is not owned by any particular "color" of people.
> Come to think of it, I have "argued" with both "black" and "white"
> students in class about the nature of AAVE. Sitting back and
> accepting whatever they've been told about it as scientific,
> linguistic truth is not responsible, in my opinion. My strategy is
> to
> work thru the properties of human language first, and then show
> them
> that AAVE has all those properties. I then suggest that people who
> want to remain insistent that AAVE is not a "proper" language have
> only racism to hide behind, since the objective and scientific
> evidence is against them.
> --
> Ronald Kephart
> Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice
> University of North Florida

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