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Education and the English Language

Linguists on African American Language ~ John Baugh
Stanford Sociolinguist John Baugh on the diversity and flexibility of African American Language.


Standard English is the language of commerce, the language of the administrator. It will be the problem of the millennium to solve the post imperialist notion of superiority / inferiority . It is the American tragedy of racism, the underclass, class inclusion vs. exclusion in a capitalist system.

True or False?

People have always struggled with perceptions of truth, which ultimately come down to this general rule: We believe what we want to believe. People choose to read the things that reflect what they already believe. In fact, it doesn't matter if you are young or old - the more times you hear it somewhere or read it in email and were told the information was false, the more they believed it was true cause you misremember it.

Information vs. Knowledge

If the words definitions in the dictionary are wrong then what? Can you handle the truth?

Information has replaced knowledge and the truth of that information no longer seems to matter as much.

Knowledge is different. Knowledge is about context -- about knowing what to do with accumulated information.

  • "True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society," Farhad Manjoo's exploration of the "cultural ascendancy of belief over fact."
  • The addition of "collateral misinformation" to The entry: "When someone alters a Wikipedia article to win a specific argument, anyone who reads the false article before the 'error' is corrected suffers from collateral misinformation."
  • And a scholar at the Hoover Institution performed an experiment with totally unsurprising results: When 100 terms from U.S. history books were entered into Google, the topics' Wikipedia articles were the first hits 87 times.
  • "the cult of the amateur" by Stephen Colbert called it "wikiality" -- meaning, "a reality where, if enough people agree with a notion, it must be true."
    Information specialists call it the death of information literacy. Students quote opinions as facts, and rarely consider whether the source is a person of authority.



A Judge Just Ruled Against the Most Racist Name in Football. The Washington football team's name is a dictionary-defined slur—and now the federal Patent and Trademark Office has been ordered to cancel its trademark registration. In practice, this ruling means that the team is still allowed to use the name. However there is now no legal protection that accompanies it. This means that the team can continue to use it, for now, but it also cannot sue anyone else who attempts to profit from their brand. In other words, we have entered “The Southpark Zone.” It is now open season on bootleg merchandise. We will see the market flooded with everything from Confederate Flags with the team logo (you can guarantee this team now getting embraced by the Stars and Bars crowd) to R—- toilet paper, and the team can't do a damn thing. We'll see how long the 28 other NFL owners, most of whom find Snyder to be about as charming as Lyme disease, put up with this kind of “brand degradation.”

Online Resources for Gaelic Words

The online resources provided by YourDictionary deal with various aspects of Gaelic words and, therefore, will be useful to varying people with diverse interests. Some sites are oriented towards Scottish Gaelic, while some are Irish Gaelic focused. Some have a linguistic aim, while others are geared towards the needs of the traveler.

Wherever your interest in Gaelic words stems from, you should be able to find information that is useful to you in the website references listed below

  • A Beginner's Guide to Irish Gaelic Pronunciation - This site has detailed linguistic information on the language rules of Irish Gaelic. Divided into categories such as vowels, consonants, diphthongs, accent, double consonants, and exceptions, this well designed site covers a wide range of information in a clear, concise format.
  • Words and Phrases in Irish Gaelic - This list of Gaelic words from Earth Family lists terms for seasons, family, phrases, color, numbers, and common phrases in Irish Gaelic.
  • Pronouncing Gaelic Words - The Internet provides many lists of words in Gaelic for your reading, but learning how to pronounce the words accurately is important if you ever wish to communicate in Gaelic. This excellent website covers vowels, accents, and pronunciation.
  • Irish Sayings - Irish Sayings is a fun website that provides audio clips of witty, irreverent Irish sayings. The sayings are available in three different dialects: Munster, Ulster, and Connacht. The site provides a handful of clips for free, but provides many more for people who pay a fee and become members of the site.
  • Tattoo Ideas: Gaelic Words and Phrases - Gaelic words and phrases have become increasingly popular in the tattoo community. If you are interested in getting a Gaelic inspired tattoo, check out this site for information, suggestions, and photos.
  • Irish Phrases - Ireland Information has an extensive list of Irish phrases that deal with days of the week, months, years, colors, numbers, everyday greetings, and much more. The site lists the phrase, how it is pronounced, and the meaning.
  • Gaelic Words You Need to Know - This article on the Visit Ireland Guide website gives fun words for the tourist to learn and use. This website is clearly geared towards the tourist, and excellent information can be found here if you plan to see some of old Ireland in the near future.
  • Ibiblio - This Gaelic homepage is dedicated to the culture and language of the Gales. Information of the Celts, Gaelic music, general Celtic language and much more is provided here.

Language Policy - n.

1. What government does officially - through legislation, court decisions, executive action, or other means - to

  • (a) determine how languages are used in public contexts,
  • (b) cultivate language skills needed to meet national priorities, or
  • (c) establish the rights of individuals or groups to learn, use, and maintain languages.

2. Government regulation of its own language use, including steps to facilitate clear communication, train and recruit personnel, guarantee due process, foster political participation, and provide access to public services, proceedings, and documents.


Language and Learning Congressional Briefing May 8, 2000 TranscriptWhat Every Educator Needs to Know -- Executive Summary
Raising Inner - City Reading Levels Executive Summary
What Every Educator Needs to Know by Lilly Wong Fillmore
Raising Inner - City Reading Levels by Dr. William Labov

"Situating United States African American Vernacular English in Linguistic Space"
Chapter 8 by David Sutcliffe used with permission.

Ebonic Need Not Be English
by Ralph W. Fasold, Georgetown Univ.

Professor Peter L. Patrick ===
Why "Ebonics" is a language

"The meaning of kiss-teeth"

Expert Mike Casserly

The Significance of Reliable Replicated Research - Whole Language

Wolfram, W., Adger, C.T., & Christian, D. (1999) Dialects in Schools and Communities. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
[."It is important to keep in mind, especially in the context of education, that linguistic features associated with vernacular dialects are not incorrect. They do not represent language deficiency. Speaking a vernacular dialect is not the result of poor or incomplete language learning and its use does not impede cognitive development. Correctness in language is a matter of social acceptability. In schools, students should be encouraged to build competence in speaking and writing a standard variety but their vernacular dialects must be respected as evidence of social identity and linguistic expertise.
In addition to indigenous varieties of American English, a number of World Englishes (e.g., Indian English, Singapore English, Caribbean English, South African English) are increasingly visible in U.S. schools, as are dialects of other languages. Spanish dialects (e.g., Puerto Rican Spanish, Mexican Spanish) are an issue in the context of teaching Spanish to Spanish speakers and bilingual education. As with English, a formal standard Spanish variety is recognized for purposes of reading and writing."

Play - definitions and uses for play



In Search of the First Language

Did Speech Originate As Song? Interdisciplinary Conversation and Research

The Memetic Origin of Language: modern humans as musical primates

What Governments Give Dialect Official Recognition?

From the Islands to the Classroom and Back - What countries give dialects official recognition by the government?

Whoever Owns The Language Owns the Conversation Education and the English Language. Jargon that confuses and obliterates meaning.

CogPrints , an electronic archive for self-archive papers in any area of Psychology, neuroscience, and Linguistics, and many areas of Computer Science (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, vison, learning, speech, neural networks), Philosophy (e.g., mind, language, knowledge, science, logic), Biology (e.g., ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behaviour genetics, evolutionary theory), Medicine (e.g., Psychiatry, Neurology, human genetics, Imaging), Anthropology (e.g., primatology, cognitive ethnology, archeology, paleontology), as well as any other portions of the physical, social and mathematical sciences that are pertinent to the study of cognition.





  • 50% of all Americans over 65 years old are functionally illiterate (maybe that's why the majority of the people don't vote).
  • 60% of Urban School Children do not graduate from High School. Forty percent of those who do read at only a 4th grade level.
  • Racism - Old-line families plot the future 9/8/05 Despite the disaster that has overwhelmed New Orleans, the city's monied, mostly white elite is hanging on and maneuvering to play a role in the recovery when the floodwaters of Katrina are gone. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate.
  • Public Cultural Confusion and Ignorance
    5.Language and Learning Congressional Briefing
    May 8, 2000 Transcript Language and Learning Congressional Briefing (see above)
  • Segregation of english learners in California students who are not yet proficient in English -- attend highly segregated schools, which hinders their educational opportunities. Elementary school level, more than half of California's English learners attended just 21 percent of the state's public schools, where they comprised more than 50 percent of the student body. The study also found that 80 schools in the state have English learners from more than 20 language backgrounds. According to the researchers, segregation limits educational opportunities for English learners, or ELs, in several ways. First, many English learners in California are handicapped by their lack of access to native English speakers, who serve as language "role models." Second, most English learners in California come from low-income homes, so high concentrations of English learners also means many English learners attend low-income schools, a significant disadvantage. Third, schools with high concentrations of English learners are less likely to have fully certified teachers than schools with low concentrations of English learners, even after accounting for differences in school poverty.


Integrate literacy, music and technology into the classroom using indigenous playground poetry to bridge from the home language to the standard using a cross curricular, thematic reading module that has culturally relevant content.

Spanish claims to the Delta region originated with DeSoto's expedition in the early 1540s. Although their presence in the region was relatively short-lived, the Spanish left their cultural stamp on life in the Delta's southern reaches. For example, the French Quarter's noteworthy architecture has a definite Spanish influence.

Frenchman Sieur de La Salle descended the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the entire watershed for Louis XIV in 1682. In 1686 a French settlement at Arkansas Post became the region's first permanent white settlement. When Pierre le Moyne Iberville brought colonists to present-day Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1699, the French established a line of posts and settlements from present-day Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, and Ste. Genevieve northeastward to Detroit.

During the 18th century a substantial French presence developed throughout the Lower Mississippi Delta region. Descendant French populations still live in southern Illinois and Missouri, in such communities as Prairie du Rocher, Kaskaskia, Ste. Genevieve, and Cape Girardeau, as well as in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Acadian Louisiana. But perhaps the most unique of all the French descendants are the Acadians who arrived in Louisiana.

During Great Britian' s conquest of the French empire in North America (1754—1763, the British expelled nearly 75%, or over 10,000, of the French Catholic Acadians from Nova Scotia. Many of the deported Acadians initially settled in the American colonies to the south or in France. However, the Acadians were not welcome either in the American colonies, where rampant anti-Catholicism and antipathy towards the French persisted, or in France, where native Frenchmen resented their government land allotments and pensions. Early in the 1780s, Spain offered the Acadians land in the Louisiana Territory to settle upon, and in 1785 approximately 1,600 Acadians departed France for the Spanish colony. Over the succeeding decades, Acadians continued to migrate to Louisiana from the United States, Canada, France, and the Caribbean, where some deported Acadians had also settled during the 18th century. Today, Acadian descendants are predominantly found in Louisiana and the New England region of the United States, Quebec, and the maritime provinces of Canada and in France (Minister of the Environmental Parks Canada 1986)

1871 Mar 3, Congress passed the Indian Appropriation Act, which revoked the sovereignty of Indian nations and made Native Americans wards of the American government. The act eliminated the necessity of treaty negotiating and established the policy that tribal affairs could be managed by the U.S. government without tribal consent. (HNQ, 5/15/98)

Some of the Best Sites for (Creole) Literature on the Web


A Missionary of Languages
A polyglot proselytizer takes on the task of training Hong Kong's teachers.By MAUREEN SULLIVAN
RUTH HAYHOE SPEAKS four languages -- a useful qualification for someone training Hong Kong's teachers as the city attempts to educate students in three tongues. "I'm a missionary of languages," says the French-, English- , Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking Canadian, who in October became the director of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Tongue Tied
Already wrestling with how to teach in English and Cantonese, Hong Kong adds Mandarin. By PETER STEIN
FOR MOST ASIAN countries, aiming for widespread literacy in one language is challenging enough. But Antony Leung has loftier aims for Hong Kong.
Main " There's no choice but to require our students to be biliterate and trilingual," says Mr. Leung, the education policy guru in Hong Kong's new government.