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Discussing Ebonics

Languages change over time and through exposure to different cultures. A language that is confined to a small geographical or social group is called a dialect. Dialects serve the function of solidifying group identity and establishing a cultural boundary between speakers and nonspeakers. African American Vernacular English (AAVE), or ebonics, is a social vernacular in the United States that caused a great deal of debate and controversy in 1996, when the Oakland California School District adopted a resolution to recognize AAVE as the "primary language of African-American children."

Read about the teaching of ebonics in this article from Education Week that discusses the outcome of the Oakland resolution five years after it was passed.

Using the "Language" discussion forum, participate in a class discussion in which you reflect on the following:

Consider and discuss any experience you may have with AAVE. Are you a speaker of the vernacular, or do you know anyone who is? Did this article change your perceptions about ebonics? Does the historical context that AAVE may be a Creole language descended from the slave trade affect your perception of the dialect?
Should ebonics be should be taught in schools, and how might such a standard practice affect racial issues and society in America?
How should schools deal with issues of non-English speakers in general?

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Dear Student,
I felt that the best way I could explain/guide you with the debates that revolve around your post is to create an essay that answers your questions and expands the ideas that your questions suggested. Attached is the word version, print it out to use as your guide. Use the ideas I discussed here for debate or class discussion. Remember as well that when debating, it is much more relevant to go into it from a particular perspective, try adopting a historical or philosophical approach. Good luck! Thank you for using Brainmass.

OTA 105878

A Reflection on Ebonics & Ethnicity

Introduction: Languages & Linguistics

Social Philosopher Richard Rorty debates that any school of thought, any culture owes its existence to Language (1979), however this does not mean that language is the accurate representation of what is real, what is really out there as language as a structure is limited only the meanings it contrives and creates from discussions and debates of our collective experiences. A language is a system of communication. It has various theories as to what makes it effective and how it works from the time of the Greeks to the present day. While the theories & the philosophies behind it differ (and at times overlap or are similar) it is accepted that it is auditory, visual and tactile means of communication manipulated & exploited in meaning creation by the use of rules. An understanding of these governing rules allow for communication to happen. Rules in language are truly dependent upon the culture that gave birth to it. Language is a dynamic social phenomenon, sensitive to change and has to always update itself to be 'useful' enough to the current challenges of the times. The more useful it is, the more successful and complicated the language becomes. Words are adapted, created or 'coined' into a language system to refer to or to create new meanings. This process of enrichment is vital. If a language cannot adopt and 'move' with the times, it slowly dies. While language death is also related to the survival of the tribes, peoples, social groups and nations who speak it, it does not mean that upon 'demise' of the last speaker the language is really 'gone'. Latin, a 'dead' language is adopted into the academic system and is always referred to or used in knowledge creation. A language can be revived ...

Solution Summary

The solution examines the development of Ebonics or the African American Vernacular as a specific dialect/language. It provides a background discussion on linguistics & the development & practice of language by a particular social group. Provided is a wordsolution as an attachment.