Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 15:13:16 MST From: Tom Uharriet Subject: Re: FOR English Only POLSKY ELLEN S 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 utom[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]