Unit 3 Discussion – Language Variety

Language Variety
This week, we’re focusing on Standard American English grammar.  However, the idea of a Standard American English grammar is somewhat controversial.

There are many dialects of English spoken in the United States besides Standard American English grammar.  A dialect is a language variety that has a unique, but consistent vocabulary, set of grammar rules, and pronunciation.  Dialects in the U.S. include Standard American English, African American English Vernacular, Chicano English, and regional varieties (Southern, Eastern, Midwestern). 

In 1973, the Conference on College Composition and Communication published a statement that students should not be told their language or dialect is “wrong” or “incorrect.”  The statement said, “A nation proud of its diverse heritage and its cultural and racial variety will preserve its heritage of dialects.  We affirm strongly that teachers must have the experience and training that will enable them to respect diversity and uphold the rights of students to their own language.”  The statement has been renewed several times, most recently in 2014. 

Thinking about the idea of dialect and the statement of Students’ Right to Their Own Language, respond to at least one of the following questions:

How are the languages we speak at home, with friends, in school, at work, etc. different? 
How do the languages we speak reflect our culture and our way of thinking? 
Most academic and professional settings expect people to use “Standard” American English grammar.  How can students maintain their “right to their own language” but still learn and use the dialect expected in academic work? 
Is it important to have an official “standard” language or dialect in the U.S.?  Why or why not? 
If it is important to have a “standard” language or dialect in the U.S., who gets to decide what that “standard” is? 
Please be sure to validate your opinions and ideas with citations and references in APA format.

Estimated time to complete: 2 hours