Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools

Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools

by Anne H. Charity Hudley, Christine Mallinson

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In today’s culturally diverse classrooms, students possess and use many culturally, ethnically, and regionally diverse English language varieties that may differ from standardized English. This book helps classroom teachers become attuned to these differences and offers practical strategies to support student achievement while fostering positive language attitudes in classrooms and beyond. The text contrasts standardized varieties of English with Southern, Appalachian, and African American English varieties, focusing on issues that are of everyday concern to those who are assessing the linguistic competence of students. Featuring a narrative style with teaching strategies and discussion questions, this practical resource:

  • Provides a clear, introductory explanation of what is meant by non-standard English, from both linguistic and educational viewpoints.
  • Emphasizes what educators needs to know about language variation in and outside of the classroom.
  • Addresses the social factors accompanying English language variation and how those factors interact in real classrooms.

“A landmark book. . . . It guides linguists and educators as we all work to apply our knowledge on behalf of those for whom it matters most: students.” 
—From the Afterword by Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State University

“In the ongoing debate about language we typically hear arguments about what students say and/or how they say it. Finally, a volume that takes on the ‘elephant in the parlor’—WHO is saying it. By laying bare the complicated issues of race, culture, region, and ethnicity, Charity Hudley and Mallinson provide a scholarly significant and practically relevant text for scholars and practitioners alike. This is bound to be an important contribution to the literature.” 
Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin–Madison

“An invaluable guide for teachers, graduate students, and all lovers of language. The authors provide a comprehensive and fascinating account of Southern and African American English, showing how it differs from standardized English, how those differences affect children in the classroom, and how teachers can use these insights to better serve their students.” 
Deborah Tannen, University Professor and professor of linguistics, Georgetown University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807774021
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication date: 12/09/2014
Series: Multicultural Education Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 500 KB

About the Author

Author,Charity Hudley,Anne H.;Author,Mallinson,Christine

Table of Contents

Series Foreword vii

Foreword William Labov xiii

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xix

1 Valuable Voices 1

Language Variation 2

Language, Students, and Multicultural Education 4

Who We Are 6

What Educators Want to Know About Language Variation 9

2 What is Standard English? 11

English Language Standards 11

Teaching Language Standards 12

Learning Language Standards 14

Some Features of School English 21

The Privilege of Standardized English 35

3 Southern English: A Regional and Cultural Variety 37

Defining the South 38

Language Variation in the South 39

Attitudes Toward Southern English 42

The Value of Southern Language and Culture 44

Features of Southern English 49

The Take-Away Message 67

4 African American English: An Ethnic and Cultural Variety 69

The History of African American English 70

Attitudes Toward African American English 72

The Value of African American Language and Culture 73

Features of African American English 79

The Take-Away Message 109

5 Assessment and Application 110

Testing Specific Populations 111

The Culture of Standardized Tests 117

The Language of Standardized Tests 120

Other Types of Assessment 137

Language-Centered Action Plans for Educators 139

Conclusion 140

Afterword Walt Wolfram 143

References 145

About the Authors 161

Index 163

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