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Standard and Non-Standard Dialects in the Classroom

  • Date Submitted: 05/16/2013 11:36 AM
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Standard vs. Nonstandard Dialects in the Classroom
In recent years, American school systems have had much problems dealing with students who speak in a dialect of non-standard English.   In the article, “The Study of Nonstandard English,” author, William Labov, raises a topic of special interest, in which he examines the relationship of teachers and speakers of non-standard English within the classroom setting. According to Labov’s main argument, “nonstandard English is a system of rules, different from the standard but not necessarily inferior as a means of communication.” The author does a great job stating the problems faced by the urban ghettos in educational systems, and effectively give a guideline that teaches must have a knowledge of grammatical rules used in non-standard English speakers to minimize conflicts in the classroom. The underlying fact is, nonstandard English is by no means inferior to Standard English.
The article is divided into two sections: the ways teachers approach students who speak in a nonstandard dialect, in which there’s a nonstandard dialects has it’s independent grammatical structures referred to as having its own “self-contained” systems, which include elements of semantics and syntax of both standard and nonstandard English; and looking at the grammatical rules of pronouns usage in both English and how they are linked. The first section is valued because it contains the main claims for Labov’s arguments.   Here, he highlights the issue at hand, which is the fact that in American educational systems, speakers of a different dialect is placed in a group and is seen as speakers of a nonstandard English, which is seen as a flawed replica of standardized English. However, in this article, Labov states that nonstandard English is not a secluded item in itself, but a fundamental part of a more superior sociolinguistic structure of English as a language.
The second section of the article addresses the grammatical rules of suburban...


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