● The existence — and legitimacy — of so-called “Standard” English (see Leonard and
Lippi-Green in particular) ;
● The need for ‘Standard’ English to be required in schools (and also perhaps in the white-collar workplace); the notion that standard and non-standard can be separate but equal ( see Leonard, Lippi-Green and particularly Ashanti-Young) .
● The notion that non-standard dialects are less clear, less precise, less logical, etc. (that there’s such a thing as a ‘broken’ English) ( see Leonard and Ashanti-Young in particular );
● The invalidity of some of the specific, prescriptive grammar rules we discussed ( see McWhorter and also Leonard ). Within this sub-topic, consider :
○ Why some prescriptive rules are unfounded and scientifically uninformed, according to linguists we have read. What are a few examples of such rules? (see McWhorter especially; also, see Leonard. And, you may also like to consult the supplementary handout called Additional Rdg. Excerpts_Prescriptivism_ENG 262 ; specifically, see the passages from Pinker (1994), The Language Instinct ) ;
○ How these prescriptive rules came to be ( See McWhorter) ;
○ What cross-linguistic evidence shows about the arbitrariness of prescriptive rules ( See McWhorter, specifically the parts about Russian (vs. English) and pronouns, and Mandarin Chinese (vs. English) and the noun/verb distinction) .
*Your essay does not (and probably should not!) try to grapple with all of the above ; think of these points as a menu from which you may draw as you see fit. And bear in mind that a strong essay usually has a focused thesis.
As we have discussed, Vershawn Ashanti-Young, in “Should Writers Use They Own English?”, offers an example of code-switching in a piece of academic writing. He does this to demonstrate the validity of different dialects in expressing a writer’s thoughts, and to underscore his point that there is more linguistic heterogeneity among the well-educated than most folks realize. Also, recall how we reviewed some of the grammatical features that linguists identify as part of African American English, and identified some of these features in Ashanti-Young’s article.
With this in mind,
Issues you can discuss in analyzing the text you’ve located :
● What features of non-standard English does this author use?
Refer from quoting directly or paraphrasing — Use at least two readings from his unit
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