Box #2: Language Policy & Literacy

U.S. Case Study #4

Many Creoles were created by Africans in many parts of the world as they came into contact with speakers of European languages during conditions of "forced relocation and enslavement" (Winford, 2003, p. 21). [Note 1] The speakers of the languages refer to their languages by names other than Creoles. These names include: Patwa in Jamaica, Papiamentu in Aruba and Curacao , Sranan Tongo in Suriname , Kweyol in St. Lucia , Keryol in Haiti , Creolese in Guyana , and Creole in Belize (Winford, 2003, p. 21). Included in these Black Englishes are African American Vernacular English , Gullah (emerged on the Islands of South Carolina and Georgia), Trinidadian Creole affectionately called, Trini ( Trinidad ). "In 1997 the Oakland, California Unified School District Board of Education approved a language education resolution for speakers of African American English (AAE) or Ebonics that .. [would lead to] Standard American English development for all children." (Morgan, 1999, p. 173). [Note 2] Jesse Jackson and Kweisi Mfume, director of the NAACP referred to the resolution as an attempt to teach slang to African American children and deprive them of education. Multiple newspaper articles, radio talk shows, internet conversations, etc. reiterated the same claims.

  1. Define Vernacular and Ebonics. When was Ebonics first used?
  2. Become familiar with the King Decision carried out in Ann Arbor , MI in the mid 1970s.
  3. Differentiate slang , from dialect , from language .
  4. Describe the issues associated with 1997 Oakland resolution. You can find lots of information regarding this decision by visiting the web sites of the following: John Baugh, John Rickford, Geneva Smitherman, and others.
  5. What is the current status of language and literacy for individuals of African descent living in the U. S?
  6. Are there connections between the history of the education of African Americans and the education of other groups that recently have been typically marginalized (Latinos, Native Americans, other groups that have emigrated to the U. S.) in the U. S. ? If so, what are those connections? If not, why are there no connections?
  7. Explain the concept of cultural competence and the importance of this concept to assessment and intervention of individuals with communication disorders. What impact can the lack of consideration for culture have on clinical service? [Note 3]
  8. Explain the concepts involved in assessing clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Give some examples of speech, language, and/or audiological assessment tools that are and are not sensitive to the needs of individuals from diverse cultural/linguistic backgrounds. Discuss what can be done with those tools to ensure appropriate assessment results.
  9. Explain the concepts involved in culturally appropriate clinical intervention with clients and their families of African American descent. Identify a type of communication (speech, language, and/or audiological) disorder and describe cultural considerations for African Americans that would impact clinical interventions for that disorder.

For the class presentation,

  1. Identify the problems gleaned from the research conducted for this task
  2. Analyze the problems from various perspectives
  3. Provide evidence (references) for your analyses
  4. Connect this case study with the issues we've discussed in class throughout the semester: globalization, immigration, marginalization, bilingualism and bidialectalism, and literacy. Also insert into the discussion the issue of current demographics in the U. S.
  5. Discuss the situation of this case as it relates to current day issues (2004), and
  6. Propose various strategies for addressing the problems.

This is your final examination
, consequently, the presentation should be a formal one including handouts, visuals (e.g., power point or overheads as appropriate), and bibliographic references.

  1. Winford, D. (2003). Ideologies of language and socially realistic linguistics. In S. Makoni, G. Smitherman, A. F. Ball, & A. K. Spears (Eds.), Black linguistics: Language, society, and politics in Africa and the Americas (pp. 21 - 39). London : Routledge.

  2. Morgan, M. (1999). US Language planning and policies for social dialect speakers. In T. Huebner & K. A. Davis (Eds.), Sociopolitical perspectives on language policy and planning in the USA : Studies in bilingualism 16 (pp. 173 - 192). Philadelphia , PA : John Benjamins.

  3. This question and the next two were adapted from a syllabus ( Contemporary Issues in Clinical Intervention ) located on line that was produced by Delores Battle.

Copyright © Yvette D. Hyter May 2004