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Social Dialects
Committee on the Status of Racial Minorities

About this Document
Prepared by the Committee on the Status of Racial Minorities: Dolores E. Battle (chair), Maureen E. Aldes, Regina Grantham, Murray Halfond, Gail A. Harris, Nilda Morgenstern-Lopez, Gloria M. Smith, Sandra L. Terrell, and Lorraine Cole (ex officio).

Table of Contents
  * Implications of the Position on Social Dialects
      * Additional Information
  * Notes

With the close of the 1970s, this country has seen language rights come to be regarded as civil rights. With court cases such as Larry P. v. Riles and the Ann Arbor Decision, the role of the speech-language pathologist relative to social dialects needed resolution. In 1982, the Legislative Council unanimously approved the position paper on social dialects prepared by the Committee on the Status of Racial Minorities.
The development of such a position paper required an in-depth examination of the controversial social issues that have been debated by many professions over the past two decades. Three different philosophical approaches to social dialects prevailed: (1) no intervention, (2) promotion of bidialectalism, and (3) eradication of nonstandard usage. For two years, the pros and cons of each philosophy were studied by the Committee on the Status of Racial Minorities.
The initial draft of the paper was submitted to selected ASHA members for comment, each chosen on the basis of his or her research or clinical backgrounds or other professional interest in the area of social dialects. Sixty-three percent of those contacted responded, most with cogent comments that reflect the current controversy and the need for direction and resolution on this topic by the Association. From this peer review, the final draft was developed.
The members of the Committee on the Status of Racial Minorities who were instrumental in the completion of the project were: Maureen E. Aldes, Dolores E. Battle (chair), Lorraine Cole (ex...


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