Re: Ebonics

Subject: Re: Ebonics
From: Deborah Meltzer <deborah -at- STARQUEST -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 11:52:43 PST

I have to remind you that the British often shudder at the corruption of our
American "bad" English. But because we are AMERICAN (another example of
"bad" use of English - actually, we are the U.S.A.) our English is "good."
Did you ever wonder why Tammy was a secretary and not rich herself? This
issue IS about teaching "good typing" to students, but "good typing" will
never be enough if attitudes such as this do not "move on." If diversity is
considered "bad," we will be hard pressed to save this culture from falling
into a bottomless pit of banality. This IS the nineties; have we learned
"It don't benefit nobody?" Speak for yourself. Personally I enjoy the nuance
of African American English; it adds richness and humor to a very flat,
non-whimsical use of the language, and frankly I shudder to imagine all of
us speaking "good" (U.S.A.) English to each other at all times.

At 02:17 PM 12/20/96 -0500, Williams Diane wrote:
>>>Deborah Meltzer
>StarQuest Software, Inc.
>email: deborah -at- starquest -dot- com
>". . . My understanding is that students would be taught to translate
>Ebonics into standard American English both verbally and in written
>form. It would be a means to both empower students to excel in
>mainstream (ruling class) society AND dignify Ebonics as a legitimate
>form of communication that has ancient roots which should be preserved."

>How does bad English dignify and preserve African roots? Wouldn't
>speaking proper Swahili (Kenya and Tanzania) or other African dialects
>serve better? Bad English is bad English and it don't benefit nobody.
>Plus who's to say what is standard Ebonics and what isn't? Standard bad

>Actually this whole topic reminds me of the movie "Tammy" (or one of the
>Tammy movies, dunno if it's the one with John Gavin or Leslie Nielsen as
>the boyfriend), where Tammy's working as a secretary for a rich family,
>and even though her spoken English is very coloquial (and bad!) her
>fingers know what to type correctly.

Deborah Meltzer
StarQuest Software, Inc.
email: deborah -at- starquest -dot- com
voice: 510/704-2554

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