Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 14:07:14 -0400 From: "M. Lynne Murphy" <104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA> Subject: Re: Request for help on divergency > Dear Prof. Allan, I am a doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University at > Ft. Lauderdale and also an elementary school teacher. What sources can you > lead me to that say that slang and divergent writing styles among elementary > school children is a good thing? How do you feel. Any brief comments would > be appreciated. Thanks. P.S. You can also contact me at > losadam[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] i'm no expert on this, but my mother's a first grade teacher (in the u.s.), so i hear a bit about the controversies about readin', writin' and prescriptivism. it seems to me that the position that slang or dialectal style would be good (or at least not bad) in elementary school writing seems consistent with the "whole language" program of reading/writing teaching, which is focussed on getting kids to produce original stories in writing from the earliest stages of their reading. thus, the stories (i got to read a lot of them over christmas--70% are about the power rangers--ag!) are full of orthographic, grammatical, and lexical weirdnesses, and these are neither corrected nor discouraged. some of the non-standard lexical stuff could be considered slang and some onomatopoeia. i think the point is to get kids to be expressive in written language, and the method is to not make them nervous about making mistakes, so to welcome any style of language they choose. i know there's a huge literature on "whole language" and i know that it originated in new zealand, but that's all i can give in the way of references. hope it's of some help. lynne murphy --------------------------------------------------------------------- M. Lynne Murphy 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Department of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340 University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-8030 Johannesburg 2050 SOUTH AFRICA