Dialect: New England, the South, and general America

Dialect: Standard English and African American English Every person has his or her own dialect, which is the variety of their spoken language that is not only influenced by their location, but also their culture.

People who can comprehend conversation with one another most likely speak different dialects, rather than languages. A dialect that is voiced most prevalently is the official form of the language (Aaron, Malatesha Joshi, and Quatroche, 2012). For instance, Standard English (SE) has its own dialects, with the African American English (AAE) dialect being the most commonly known. Both of these dialects heavily influence students’ literacy skills. Standard English and African American English Also known as Academic English, the way that SE is spoken depends on the location. Derived from England, this dialect does not acquire linguistic features that are out of the ordinary. Wolfram and Schilling-Estes (1998) stated that there could possibly be three to twenty-four dialects of SE in the United States.

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New England, the South, and general America are the three primary dialects; however, the most utilized dialect of SE is Ebonics, which is another term for the dialect of AAE. It is challenging for students to successfully communicate and learn in school, considering that many do not know what is appropriate because of the similarities and distinctions between these two dialects. According to Traugott (1976), Ebonics “is thought to have its origin from pidgin and Creole forms of language”. It is theorized that this form of English derived from those who were brought to America and the Caribbean Islands from West Africa.

Baratz (1973), Labov (1973), and Traugott (1976) highlighted that the AAE system’s speaking and grammar features signify changes over time, thus, Ebonics is a form of communication directed by rules. Redd and Webb (2005) stated that the linguistic features of this dialect are not mistakes. In fact, these features follow separate rules from Standard English. Influence of Dialect on Literacy Skills There are numerous variations in speech patterns of SE speakers. Some African American children may utilize both Ebonics and SE, depending on circumstances.

Malstrom (1973) recounted that distinctions in phonics and grammar of AAE can alter words. Differences of Ebonics from SE include those that influence spelling and reading comprehension for AAE speakers. For example, many who use this dialect omit possessive suffixes and even use dissimilar verb constructions. Following a study to find out whether or not dialect affects spelling, O’Neal and Trabasso (1973) determined that differences in spelling can be caused by phonological variances in verbal language.

Charity, Scarborough, and Griffin (2004) administered imitation and reading assessments to African American students in kindergarten through second grade. The findings suggested that children who were more likely to have better reading achievement were those who were familiar with SE. Conclusion Children acquire their own linguistic personalities, which are influenced by their setting and culture. The professional educator can learn about his or her students’ dialect use in order to better suit students in succeeding in learning SE.

Many African American students may attain poor literacy skills if they do not have enough suitable exposure to the standard form of English.


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