printability and standardization

Ronald Kephart rkephart at unf.edu
Sun Jan 11 16:15:03 UTC 2004


At 11:02 AM -0600 1/10/04, Felicia Briscoe wrote:

>...There also seems to be an underlying assumption in much of the
>recent writing that
>bilingualism is either very difficult to attain or that it is
>someway is detrimental to the person who is bilingual.  I find this
>a very strange assumption. Why can't a person be fully literate in
>AAVE and fully literate in standard English.  Why is it so often
>posed as an either/or option?

I think part of the answer lies in what anthropological linguist MJ
Hardman calls our linguistic postulates: specifically, the importance
of singularity. This manifests itself in all sorts of ways not only
within our language but also how we think about language, as well as
more widely: one "right" answer, one god, preference for individual
over collective work, "most valuable players," the totalitarian
nature of our corporations, even the prescriptive insistence on "he"
rather than "they" as a generic pronoun. And of course, "one
language."

See: Hardman, 1978, Linguistic postulates and applied anthropological
linguistics, in Papers on linguistics and child language, edited by
V. Honsa and M.J. Hardman-de-Bautista, 117-36. The Hague: Mouton.

--
Ronald Kephart
Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice
University of North Florida
http://www.unf.edu/~rkephart
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