Unclear on American Campus: What the Foreign Teacher Said

Aurolyn Luykx aurolynluykx at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 27 19:43:07 UTC 2005

I would think there would be more actual speech
disorders than "bipedal walking disorders", just
because speaking is a more complicated behavior,
involving more separate but coordinated actions (and
more parts of the brain), and thus there are more
points where it can go wrong.
My hunch is that the prof who made the original
insensitive comment about the West African student
needing speech therapy, probably didn't know the
difference between a speech therapist and an
elocutionist. If the intent was that the person could
use some professional help to reach something close to
standard English pronunciation for academic purposes,
that doesn't seem so offensive to me. Many countries
have institutes dedicated to precisely that purpose.

--- Ronald Kephart <rkephart at unf.edu> wrote:

> At 10:48 AM +0100 6/27/05, Anthea Fraser Gupta
> wrote:
> >...So some real disorder can be overlooked...
> I wonder.... What is the frequency of children with
> language problems 
> that result from a neurological or anatomical
> pathology ( as opposed 
> to merely having acquired the wrong accent or
> dialect)?  Is such an 
> estimate even available, given the folk tendency to
> confuse these two 
> issues?
> My own starting null hypothesis would be that given
> that language 
> acquisition is an outcome of normal human growth and
> development, 
> i.e. not "taught," the % of real pathologies should
> be not much 
> different from the % of pathologies observed with
> regard to 
> acquisition of bipedal walking, which like language
> is not "taught." 
> Am I totally out of line here? Does anybody know?
> >Linguists shouldn't be complicit in systems of
> prejudice.
> Not only that, I think that we have, as the
> professionals involved, a 
> moral obligation to call attention to instances
> where language 
> "policies" are really covers for racial and other
> prejudices.
> Ron

 "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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