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

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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 more difficult time receiving the appropriate language reinforcement they need in order to thrive in the academic environment. According to Crochunis, Erdey, & Swedlow, “While most of us recognize that learning a new language presents challenges, we may not realize that for some children learning a new language variety (dialect) is one of the most daunting tasks they face in school” (2002, section III, p. 18 – emphasis added). In this essay, I will discuss the standard form of a language, dialects, creoles, and the difficulties or limitations they can produce. In particular, I will demonstrate the differences facing speakers of the AAE and ChE dialects, the effects on learning they produce, and possible ways to address and support those students in learning to function within the SAE world. 1. Explanation of Standard Language, Dialects, and Creoles The standard form of any language is hard to define; one might say it is found “in the eye or ear of the beholder”. The standard of a language may be imprecisely defined as “the variety used in formal writing”, and by influential persons in the public eye such as national politicians and television anchors. Thus considered dominant in the given culture, it is also sometimes labeled the prestige form and may also serve social functions within th... ... middle of paper ... .... New York: Vintage Books, 1995. Print. McArthur, Tom. The Oxford companion to the English language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print. pg. 940, pp. 289-290 "Resolving the sh-ch alternation in Chicano English." Linguistic Society.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. . Sconda, Dave. "EnglishMeeting." EnglishMeeting. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. . "Using AAVE to teach SAE in LA Schools from DYSA." YouTube. YouTube, 29 June 2008. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. . This video highlights an effective technique for teaching students of dialect to codeswitch to SAE. THis technique can be used for any dialect to highlight differences and how to overcome them.

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