Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 20:04:55 -0500


Subject: Re: The Lords Prayer/Ebonics

At 05:10 PM 10/9/97 -0400, Jeutonne Brewer wrote:

On Wed, 8 Oct 1997, Salikoko S. Mufwene wrote:

If you really want to be concerned, you can look at the texts

published as examples of Ebonics (John Milton, Elizabeth Barrett

Browning, etc.). ( I don't mention

this as an attempt to promote distribution of these ecamples, but to

point out what many people on the Web are reading as examples. One of my

students found this site when doing a class exercise to find information

and discussion about Ebonics. So now I plan to do a class exercise

in which students analyze one of the examples using summaries of

legitimate research. My point is that these examples are there.

People will read them, and teachers may consider using them as

examples. I want my students to be informed on the subject and

able to make judgments about such examples.


Perhaps we cannot prevent people from creating websites where incorrect

information is disseminated. Perhaps we should even tolerate their

existence, in the spirit of freedom of speech. In the same spirit also we

can express our displeasure at INACCURATE information being

circulated/promoted about a particular variety, especially on the ADS-List

for entertainment purposes, at the expense of the very people some of us are

making good academic careers out of. (What I found inaccurate in Carol's

posting is the adoption and presentation of a "street variety", which

regular speakers of the vernacular we study, do not often recognize as the

variety that they speak--it is certainly not their home vernacular nor the

one they themselves would choose for the Bible.)

Now, I have no objection to directing students to such sites. I would

too, telling them that of course that is not the basic AAVE vernacular that

I have heard people use in their homes--in the original sense of

"vernacular" as 'home variety'. It is not clear to me that several postings

I have seen on "Ebonics" really have the same motives that you have

expressed here. I must say I did not recognize that kind of intention in

Carol's posting. If I missed it, I apologize to her.

Thank you for the website address. I will check it out.



Salikoko S. Mufwene Tph: (773)702-8531

University of Chicago Fax: (773)834-0924

Department of Linguistics e-mail: s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

1010 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637 (USA)