Pride and Dialect

This links to a nice article on encouraging students to be proud of their dialect, and to maintain it. I regret having tried for years to lose the language markers of my upbringing. Some were kind of knocked out of me by a teacher’s red pencil or someone’s pointed vocal correction. After a while I began delighting in the natural vernacular and wishing I could regain what I lost. Even if I stayed with my Southeast Missouri family for a month, I couldn’t absorb it again. Mine was gained when I was very small and surrounded by an extended family, all who were story tellers and singers. There were phrases and cadences and nuances that passed out of use. My sister retains much of it because she’s lived in the area most of her life. But she has also acquired a teaching certification and an M.S. in counseling. Some of her dialect was lost to or in higher education. My brother’s is strong. He’s the quietest of us all but listening to him is a pleasure. When I talk to my mother, I keep pen and paper in hand. She’s a master of language, armed with the old dialect and a sharp wit. I can’t write it all down. I remember how much I hated the rule not to split infinitives (incorrect: to not split infinitives). I prefer “I want to not do it” over “I want not to do it.” The latter is not what I mean.
Click here for New York Times article.


About rmkinder

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