Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 15:13:16 MST


Subject: Re: FOR English Only

POLSKY ELLEN S Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Colorado.EDU writes:

Can anyone really define STANDARD American English? We can't say

that it's what the newscasters use, because they speak on t.v. in

a variety of dialects. . . . So, what is "standard" English?

Let's not kid ourselves. All across the country, at least on a most

basic level, we tell our students to recognize the difference between

sentence fragments and complete sentences. Even though local

dialects may permit these fragments, they are generally less welcome

in school papers. I have only taught in three states, but I have

good reason to believe that the rules are the same across the

continent. Local influences may impact our writing styles, and even

dictate which aspects of the school grammar books are ignored, but

they do not usually lead us to produce writing books to promote our

own dialects.

There are many shades of blue. Calling one shade "blue" does not

require us to rename every other shade. There are many shades of

Standard American English. Aren't we beyond trying to name a

particular dialect as the true standard? It was mentioned that some

grammar books contain errors. The fact that we can recognize those

errors supports the idea that we know the standard--or that we can be

educated to know it. We cannot then pretend that such a standard

does not exist. Such pretence may be PC, but we know better.

Tom Uharriet

Springville, Utah