Re: Spoken Language Control

Subject: Re: Spoken Language Control
From: Tracie Speer <traspeer -at- RS6000 -dot- CMP -dot- ILSTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 10:46:47 -0600

This message is directed at all of those folks who are evaluating the
conversational style of others. I am rather confused with the belief that
our language is supposed to be static. Our language obtains its richness
and complexity because it is always evolving and changing. We do not speak
Middle English becuase our language has evolved.

According to many scholars in both rhetoric and composition theory, our
love of prescriptive linguistics is based on the middle-class trying to
alter/oppose the poor, working class folks after the Enlightenment.
Scholars from England also went to Scotland and promoted the belle letters
and English jargon in an attempt to 'educate' the Scots.

This business of discounting the intellect of people who do not speak
Midlands English seems an effective way to make one feel superior in
education and intellect. How sad for the students I teach who speak BEV,
which is actually a more complex language than our Midlands. Perhaps it is
time we stop concentrating on how someone shares an idea and focus on the
idea itself. It may not be a method for instantly inflating the ego, but
you may learn something.


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