During your study group, discuss the following questions with your fellow participants. After you have completed your study group discussion, email any lingering questions you have to the presenter.

  1. What is your reaction to Brasch’s quotation at the beginning of the chapter? Regardless of the “genuineness” of the dialect, regardless of how remarkably it may add flavor and soul to a poem or song or novel, regardless of the solidarity it may lend to a political rally, I say it is illogical, nonsensical, and harmful to teach an innocent black child that it’s quite all right to say ‘I done gone to school.’
  2. Compare your reaction to the following commentary on how most speakers of American English perceive AAE now to your reaction at the beginning of this short course. In what ways have your views changed? The majority of English speakers think that AAE is just English with two added factors: some special slang terms and a lot of grammatical mistakes.
  3. According to research conducted by Morgan, a great deal of opposition to the use and acceptance of [AAE] has come from African Americans themselves. Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
  4. Do you agree or disagree with the view that AAE is not appropriate language for use in a professional setting. Explain your position.
  5. When discussing attitudes toward AAE and employment, Green cites a study in which employers were seeking ‘articulate’ blacks to fill management trainee positions … and articulate blacks were those who were proficient in standard English. In your view, what is the relationship (if any) between articulate speech and the language variety used?
  6. One of Labov’s recommendations for teaching reading to AAE speakers is to give more attention to the end of words. Based on what you have learned during this course, especially the section on the phonology of AAE, do you believe this is sound advice? Why or why not?

Estimated time for this activity: 1 hour