This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

All American Students Must Learn Standard English

1856 words - 7 pages

All American Students Must Learn Standard English

What are words? A simple question such as this would in theory demand only a simple answer. Words, however, take such an abundance of forms that creating a truly inclusive definition for the notion of “words” is daunting. In its physical manifestation, a word is little more than air passing over taut tendons, forming sounds which are accented by flicks of the tongue against the teeth and roof of the mouth. These sounds are arranged in patterns that come to be recognized and accepted as words. But are these sounds all that words represent?—certainly not. Words command power. Although the defiant playground motto states that “sticks and stones may break bones, but words can never hurt,” we all know that words do have the power to hurt. They also have the power to heal, inspire, build reputations as well as destroy them, bring the purest of joys, and the deepest of sorrows. This power, however, cannot be credited to inflected patterns of sound, but rather to the thoughts, intentions, concepts, and emotions that such sounds come to represent. Indeed, the intrinsic power of a word is nothing, but the power of the ideas behind a word is limitless.

This distinction becomes important when considering the storm of controversy that surrounds the requirement of standard English. Although one viewpoint suggests that such a requirement is an agent of social imperialism (Smitherman 171), it cannot be forgotten that the true purpose of spoken and written language is to communicate ideas effectively. For adequate communication to take place, a speaker must use a medium that is understood by those with whom he wishes to communicate. Otherwise, both the ideas and the power they wield become lost in verbal confusion.

Historically, the rise of a language into common usage has been dictated by the effectiveness of that language in meeting a social demand. According to Geneva Smitherman, in her book Talkin and Testifyin, standard English as we know it today flourished in the eighteenth century to fill the void left by the decline of Latin (186). African American Vernacular English, or Ebonics, also formed to meet a specific need. Contrary to popular belief, Ebonics rose out of 19th Century southern slave culture, not out of repeated use of “sloppy” speech. Slaves who were strictly oppressed by their masters were not allowed to peaceably assemble or meet with each other for any purpose. Such freedom, slave owners feared, could foster coercive ideas amongst their slaves. Slaves, therefore, needed a language that would allow them to communicate with each other in a clandestine manner. Ebonics rose to meet this need (Smitherman 19). Using Ebonics, slaves were able to communicate behind their masters’ backs and form a unity that was instrumental in the perseverance of African American culture through the unspeakable trials of slavery.

Almost one hundred and forty years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation...

Find Another Essay On All American Students Must Learn Standard English

Should Students Who Speak AAVE Be Allowed to Speak their Dialect in a Language Arts Classroom, or Should They Speak Standard English?

1481 words - 6 pages I will be a hypocrite if I say that I speak perfect Standard English at all times. I believe that there is a time and a place for speaking Standard English. In addition, I believe that all students should feel comfortable when conversing with their peers in the classroom. Through analyzing these studies, there appears to be one question posed throughout both articles: should students who speak African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) be

Assisting Integration Into Standard American English for Speakers of Dialects of English

3879 words - 16 pages Introduction The English language has many varieties such as American English, Canadian English, Australian English, etc. Each of these have a standard form as well as additional dialects. Students who begin life with a dialect or vernacular other than Standard American English, though native English speakers, will often have a more difficult time adjusting to school. They may be misjudged as less intelligent, encounter prejudice, and face a

Year-Round Schooling For All American Students: A Good Thing

770 words - 3 pages families farms. Nowadays, as we all know, this is not the case. Year-round schooling consists of the same amount of school days, 180, just spread out over 12 months rather than 10. Although students do not get a “summer” they do, in fact, get numerous 2-3 week breaks throughout the school year (Tumgoren, 2009, L02). During these breaks, optional classes and workshops are offered to students whom are seeking extra help in classes, parents who can’t

A report on the Proficiency in Standard English for Speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) program.

733 words - 3 pages Ebonics have gained prominence in the American education system. However, ebonics continues to receive mixed responses from the academic communities. The following bill proposes the "Equality in English Instruction Act." The bill would require the State Department of Education to immediately terminate the proficiency in Standard English for speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) program, which is encouraging the teaching of

Teaching Standard English in Urban Schools

866 words - 3 pages Teaching Standard English in Urban Schools In our society, there are many cultures with language and dialect variations, but Standard English is the language of the dominant culture. Therefore, it is necessary for all students to learn to write and speak Standard English effectively. However, for many students of Urban school districts, especially African Americans, writing and speaking effective Standard English can occasionally pose a

The American Cultures Archive

3942 words - 16 pages . Indeed, this must stop. And this is exactly what programs such as Oakland's Standard English Program (SEP) have been addressing for fifteen years. The result has been many classrooms in which teachers respect African-American students' speech patterns but gently instruct them that in the public sphere, the standard is appropriate. No one could criticize this. However, the Oakland resolution implies instituting much more. As of this writing

English Language: The Basic Education Course

634 words - 3 pages (Sa-ngunsaereewanich, 2013). Hence, students must find other ways to learn English in order to improve their English skills more and more. “The Ways of Learning English” refer to methods that are use to make the activity of obtaining English knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2013). The ways of learning English are important for students because when they learn a language, they can improve their four skills of listening, speaking

Ebonics is Not a Seperate Language but Improper Form of English

3060 words - 12 pages English is a representation of the culture of many African American students and teachers must recognize this use of language and in doing so, they also acknowledge the rich culture of the students that has been marginalized for years. Educators in California believe that these students can only learn through their roots and that the only way they can get African American students to learn Standard English is by using Ebonics as bridge

Ebonics In Schools

989 words - 4 pages approved a policy affirming Standard American English language development for all students. This policy covers the effectiveness of the strategies that must be utilized to ensure that every child will achieve English language Proficiency (Hawkins, p.1). This policy is based on the work of a broad-based Task-Force, convened six months ago to review the district-wide achievement data and to make recommendations regarding the effective practices that

Dual Language Programs

965 words - 4 pages indicates there are various standard definitions that describe language (Billings, Martin-Beltran, and Hernandez, 2010). Language is used to communicate with others and is essentially human, but not limited to only human beings. As individuals learn English as their Second Language, they learn that language is acquired by all kinds of people in the same way. Mostly children can adapt and/or learn a foreign language better than adults due to

Learning English as a Second Language

675 words - 3 pages In our modern education system many students are faced with the challenge of learning English as a second language (ESL). This can be a difficult transition period for students and a challenge for the educator as well. Learning English as a second language is a barrier that must be overcome if the student is expected to progress through the American education system and can have definite impacts on learning all other subjects, because if the

Similar Essays

Why Students Must Learn A Foreign Langauge

780 words - 4 pages and the Center for Applied Linguistics are saying that more people are enrolling for English-language program not only “to improve English proficiency, but also to get a job, complete a high school diploma or higher education degree, support their candidacy for American citizenship, and develop skills that will help their own children succeed academically” (Introduction 1). Being bilingual can help you later in life. It can help you in a number of

If Students Cannot Learn The Way We Teach Them, We Must Teach Them The Way They Learn

4631 words - 19 pages abilities. This diversity is reflected in every classroom in the country and each member of that class carries their own beliefs, understandings, experiences and abilities. All of these will effect the way they learn and this is the most important thing a Teacher must realise. To teach all the students in a class effectively, the teacher must understand how each student thinks, feels, and acts in specific situations, and what factors influence their

English Is The Most Important School Subject For Students To Learn

1062 words - 4 pages ). The immigrant student population in American public schools is an ever-growing force. One kind of problem that immigrants share is the need to learn the English language, even if learning English is a very hard language to learn. When immigrants do not learn English, they are fated to remain second class citizens or never become a citizen. They are ghettoized and never integrate into the main stream of society. They are forced to take low

Exploring What Thai Students Of English Learn From Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (Mmorp Gs)?

2886 words - 12 pages on what literacy children possibly can learn from MMORPGs. Finally, it will also investigate some drawbacks of video games, and possibly reasons behind those disadvantages. English Language Teaching in Thailand Prapphal (2001) investigated English proficiency of Thai students and surprisingly found out that the majority of the students could not meet the standard requirement to study at the graduate level. Her results indicate that the average