printability and standardization

Christina Paulston paulston+ at
Sun Jan 11 22:46:26 UTC 2004

Dear Maggie,
    I have read all the people you mention - although not the particular
piece by Silverstein whom I stay away from if I can help it ( his ideas are
brilliant; his writing is dreadful).
    When I say you can tell Af-Am that AAVE is a wonderful dialect, in many
ways more expressive (he talking~ he be talking) than standard English, it
might "take" with some, but not your ordinary working class, LMC - they
simply don't believe it. With good reason, I might add. (For social reasons)
Only linguists would believe it. Why do I say that. I have tried many, many
times - I have supervised any numbers of lge attitude studies and it is
always the same. Dislike and distrust.
    But if you want to read something really great, find Samy Alim's
dissertation, defended last spring at Stanford, John Baugh's student. That
should make you cheer. But again, that's the students, not the parents.
    Please understand, I think AAVE is great, fascinating and intriguing
that we have no generally accepted history of its genesis. ALL I object to
is pontificating social policies on linguistic grounds and against the
community's wishes whether they be Quechua Indians, African-American,
Hasidim Jews, etc etc.
    And I am fairly well read :-) Christina PS But hang in there

>From: Margaret Ronkin <ronkinm at>
>To: lgpolicy-list at
>Subject: RE: printability and standardization
>Date: Sun, Jan 11, 2004, 2:55 PM

> Also of possible interest; the first two readings are at an "easier" level
> than the third.
> Lippi-Green, Rosina. 1997. The standard language myth. In English with an
> accent: language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States.
> London: Routledge. Pp. 53-62.
> Lippi-Green Rosina. 1997. Language ideology and the language subordination
> model. In English with an accent: language, ideology, and discrimination in
> the United States. London: Routledge. Pp. 63-78.
> Silverstein, Michael. 1996. Monoglot "standard" in America: Standardization
> and metaphors of linguistic hegemony. In Donald Brenneis and Ronald K.S.
> Macaulay, eds. The matrix of language: Contemporary linguistic
> anthropology. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Pp. 284-306.
> [From a shorter paper, "Standardization and Metaphors of Linguistic
> Hegemony", presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological
> Association, Philadelphia, 6 December 1996.]
> -----
> --Maggie
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Ronald Kephart <rkephart at>
> Date: Sunday, January 11, 2004 4:15 pm
> Subject: RE: printability and standardization
>> 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

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