Thursday, August 31, 2017


Dawg Sez 15

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What do you see?
wolves at play; jaw sparring
wildearth photographs
Yer ears ain't any better than yer eyes. What do you hear?

Something called standard English is taught in American public schools. Most languages have an 'official version' that the government encourages. This is fine. If you're building a house, good to have a solid foundation.

A dialect is usually defined as a variation of the standard language. Not everyone agrees on this definition. The problem has a number of issues. Can a dialect continue to change and become a language? Are dialects 'bad' and standard forms 'good'? If two standard forms are combined, what results?

Ebonics is a term coined to describe to Black English. If Ebonics is considered dialect, as many Caucasians think, then it can be labeled as 'bad'. Bad grammar. Faulty syntax. A vocabulary that seems bent on confusion.

If Ebonics is a language, then it is no more incorrect than French.

Toni Morrison is quite sure it is a language.

It’s terrible to think that a child with five different tenses comes to school to be faced with books that are less than his own language.1

What she refers to is the sense of time in Black English.

Some of the ways to talk about walking2:
  • He walk– an action without regard to time
  • He is walkin’– an action in the present
  • He be walkin’– an action that is done all the time or over and over again
  • He been walkin’– an action in the past that took some time
  • He done walked – an action completed in the past

Every language has the same problem. The more established the language, the bigger the problem. The less established the language, the more likely it be that 'dialects' will flourish. The French have a government bureau dedicated to purifying the one true language. In Papua New Guinea, a small island nation in the South Pacific, 840 languages are spoken.

Best, it seems , not to be gettin' too dogmatic 'bout yer stuff.

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. 3
Toni Morrison


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