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Title: Beyond Language: Ebonics, Proper English, and Identity in a Black-American Speech Community
Authors: Ogbu, John U. 1939-2003
Date: 1999
Source: American Educational Research Journal 36(2): 147-184
Abstract: The discourse on the ebonics resolution passed in December 1996 by the Board of Education in Oakland, CA, has increased national awareness of the language problems faced by African-American children in the public school. The discourse focused almost exclusively on dialect differences per se between the standard English of the public school and the children's home dialect or ebonics. This article has three objectives: (a) to contribute to sociolinguistic studies of speech communities; (b) to describe and explain sociolinguistic factors (beyond language/dialect) that affect Black children's performance on standard English; and (c) to show a connection between the children's dialect beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in school with those of their parents and community. This article is based on a 2-year ethnographic study of a Black speech community in Oakland, CA, characterized by bidialectalism and diglossia. However, the community and its children face a dilemma in learning and using proper English because of their incompatible beliefs about standard English.
Format: article
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