Dialects in Schools and Communities

Dialects in Schools and Communities

Dialects in Schools and Communities

Dialects in Schools and Communities


Text for professionals in ed. and related fields addresses natural interest & educational concern about dialects by considering some major issues confronting educational practitioners. No background in linguistics/sociolinguistics is assumed by reader./P>


Curiosity about language variation and the role that dialects play in society is natural. In education, concern with this topic has always been high, rising cyclically to extraordinary levels. The current awareness that students in the United States represent a rich array of linguistic and cultural resources brings this topic around again, with many of the related issues from the past still unresolved. In Dialects in Schools and Communities, we have addressed this natural interest and educational concern about dialects by considering some of the major issues that confront educational practitioners. This work is rooted in questions that have arisen in workshops, surveys, classes, and discussion groups with practitioners and teacher educators. The work thus intends to fulfill an important need in a range of educational and related service fields. No previous background in linguistics or sociolinguistics is assumed on the part of the reader.

Although the discussion has an empirical, research base, we do not give detailed documentation in the text. Instead, we synthesize current understandings and provide key references. In a sense, this is a kind of translation and interpretation work in which we attempt to bring together the practical concerns of educators and the vantage point of sociolinguistics.

This book was inspired originally by the response we received to our earlier work, Dialects and Education:
Issues and Answers
, by Walt Wolfram and Donna Christian (1989), but we have reconsidered and expanded our discussion of many of the issues raised in that earlier work in a completely revised format.

This volume is divided into eight chapters, with appropriate subsections in each. In the initial chapter, Language Variation in the United States, popular concerns with the nature of language variation are raised, and in chapter 2, Exploring Dialects, more specific issues about the characteristic structures of different dialects are considered. In the third chapter, Communicative Interaction, attention turns to various interactive patterns characteristic of groups.

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