SOLUTION: Standard Language & Non English Speakers Challenges Sociolinguistics & Dialects Essay

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LPA1 Task 3 Handout

April 6, 2020 launch date
• Task Code, LZM1
The Dialect Essay
Handout Table of Contents
Pgs. 1-2, Summary of directions and Course Instructor advice for Part A
Pgs. 2-3, Summary of directions and Course Instructor advice for Part B
Pgs. 3-4, Summary of directions and Course Instructor advice for Part C
Pgs. 4-5 Summary of directions and Course Instructor advice for Part D
Pgs. 5-6 Summary of directions and Course Instructor advice for Part E
Pg. 6, Supplemental Links- for help citing websites, and additional
*See examples of dialects and creoles for this task under Instructor Advice for Part B.
**A good target length for this paper is 7-9 pages total.
Summary of Directions for Part A
*This is a summary only. Be sure to consult the actual directions in the Assessments
A. Explain what a standard form of a language is and what dialects and creoles are–briefly.
A1. Discuss some difficulties or limitations speakers of non-standard English dialects may
encounter when interacting with school personnel- including teachers.
Course Instructor Advice for Part A
Study the course topic Acquiring Language Variants- both Read sections.
The Diversity Kit (you read from it in CUA1, use the Language section) also has
information on standard language and dialects.
A1. Here’s what you need to write about: The issue here is that learners who speak a dialect
of English–like African-American English or Chicano English–might make errors in their
standard English usage because of their language variety. Some learners who speak AfricanAmerican English, for example, have lots of access to Standard American English, too, so they
can switch back and forth very easily. But some people have very little access to the standard
and this can hurt them academically. These are the learners who may wind up doing poorly
academically and might even get labeled, mistakenly, for special education services (you may
recall from your readings for task 1 that one of Jim Cummins concerns is teachers making
assumptions about their students’ intelligence based solely on their speaking a different dialect).
What lots of these students need is some language reinforcement so they can become
proficient at using Standard American English (for learners in the U.S., of course). It’s very
important, however, for learners and teachers to understand that being fluent in the standard
and in a dialect does not mean having to give up one’s linguistic and cultural identity. This can
be an enormous fear of a dialect speaker who is being pushed to learn the standard. Teachers
need to be very sensitive to this.
Another example would be a learner who comes from another country where English is spoken
as a first language–like one of the islands in the Caribbean or India…or Scotland–but their
English (their Standard English) might be quite different from Standard American English.
Teachers might assume that the student speaks English as a second language…well, no, the
student speaks a different English! The student might still need support with language as he or
she becomes more adept at using Standard American English in an American school.
Additionally, teachers need to understand that the standard is not some static, unchanging,
perfect form of the language. Language is fluid and dynamic. Many of us hold very deep
prejudices about what counts as “good” or “proper” English…and often we hold these views
because we have been taught to be afraid of making mistakes with language. Remember back
to the first task of CUA1…language and culture and identity go together…we judge one another
based on our language usage, thus, we all have a lot of identity riding on how and what we
Summary of Directions for Part B
*This is a summary only. Be sure to consult the actual directions in your Assessments
Very easy: simply write a sentence or two stating which two dialects or creoles you will be
researching and writing about. These should be non-standard varieties of English.
Course Instructor Advice for Part B
African American English and Chicano English are easy choices because there is information
about them in An Introduction to Language. However, please consider choosing other varieties
that you may encounter in your school, such as Indian English, Nigerian English, Philippine
English, Singaporean English, etc. Our two famous creoles in the U.S. are the French Creole in
Louisiana, and the Hawaiian Creole, but you might also encounter a Caribbean Creole, Haitian
Creole, or others.
Summary of Directions for Part C
*This is a summary only. Be sure to consult the actual directions in your Assessments
C. As you approach this section, think about the dialects from a linguistic aspect.
C1. Discuss two specific linguistic similarities and two linguistic differences between SAE and
each of your dialects or creoles.
C1a. Discuss how both the similarities and differences affect further learning in SAE, especially
in writing. For example, does sharing a similar syntax and alphabet help a student with
comprehension while learning new content material?
C2. Discuss some ways a teacher can address or help students to overcome the language
problems presented by these similarities and differences. Do this for each of the dialects or
creoles separately.
Course Instructor Advice for Part C
C. Features of Dialects:
Let me give you an example of how you do this. First, pick several language features of each of
your dialects. Write down how the features work, compare them to Standard American English
(SAE). Explain how this can impact students’ learning of SAE.
This is only an example- you must find your own information and write it up yourself!:
Like most dialects, African American English has its own pronunciation, word
construction, and syntax patterns. There are many features of this dialect, but for the
purposes of this essay, I will describe X, Y, and Z (X, Y, and Z=CHOOSE 3 OR 4
The first feature is syntactic and deals with the deletion of the verb “be.” In
African American English “be” is often removed in places where it would be used in SAE
(Fromkin, Rodman, & Hyams, 2007). For example, in African American English one would
say: He happy. But in SAE, one would say: He is happy.
Do this for all of your features.
*You can find useful information for some dialects in An Introduction to Language, ed 11,
chapter 7. The following websites also have linguistic information that you can use for many,
many languages, including Hawaiian Creole, Haitian Creole, and more:
Languages AZ
Multicultural Topics in Communications Sciences & Disorders | Languages
We don’t recommend Wikipedia very often as a reliable source, but here is a good example of
English dialect differences using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet):
International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects
C1a. Effect of Dialects and/or Creoles on Learning English
Explain whether speaking a dialect can make it difficult to learn SAE if the dialect varies a lot
from SAE. Some dialects are not very different from SAE, and some features of a dialect might
be similar to the standard. For example, in African American English, there are a lot of words
and grammatical (syntactic) patterns that are similar. Students who speak African American
English, for example, usually have exposure to SAE, but, depending on their family or home
community, might not speak it much themselves. What happens is that they start writing what
they hear, and what they hear is dialect and this holds them back with their school work
(because the expectation is that academic English will be in SAE). For example, in African
American English (and in many, many other English varieties), words that end in “-ing” are often
shortened to “-in.” Instead of “running” many people say “runnin.” I say this myself, but I know
that when I write I need to write out “running” with the “g.” Kids who grow up speaking a dialect,
and who are not familiar with the standard, will not do this—they don’t know the standard well
enough to distinguish between standard and dialect. For this section of your paper, give a
couple of examples of how learners’ writing might reflect difficulties with writing in the standard.
One caveat: Do not assume that every speaker of a dialect will have these issues. Some
children are fortunate enough to be in situations where they are quite fluent in several varieties
of English.
C2. Possible Ways to Address or Overcome Problems
Address ways a teacher can address problems students face in learning Standard American
English because of the similarities or differences of their dialect or language to SAE. This can
be written as its own section of the paper following C and C1, you might consider referring to
part E1 if it works for your paper. The article Teaching Standard American English Using the
Language of African American Vernacular English gives many useful ideas to help you get
started, as well as these two:

Wheeler, R. S., & Swords, R. (2004). Codeswitching: Tools of Language and Culture
Transform the Dialectally Diverse Classroom. Retrieved from

Blundon, P. H. (2016). Nonstandard dialect and education achievement: Potential
implications for First Nations students. Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
and Audiology, 40(3). Retrieved

Clyde, J. (2005). Teaching Standard American English Using the Language of African
American Vernacular English. Language Arts Journal of Michigan. 21(2). Retrieved from
Summary of Directions for Part D
*This is a summary only. Be sure to consult the actual directions in your Assessments
Identify at least five resources you could recommend to another teacher who wants to know
more about specific linguistic traits of SAE, these dialects or creoles, or both. Include the title
and describe the information each resource provides for each of these dialects or creoles.
Course Instructor Advice for Part D
Teacher Resources
For this section, consider that ELL teachers (all teachers really) need to know more about
English in all its forms. They need to understand how the standard functions and how dialects
(non-dominant varieties) shape who we are. Teachers can educate themselves with a number
of resources.
List five books and/or good websites that teachers can use to learn more about SAE and/or the
two dialects you have chosen. You are welcome to use any resources from the course as well
as Searching the WGU library,or bringing in outside sources. You can look up any number of
books on Amazon.

You do not need to have used these books in your paper—this is just a listing of useful
resources for teachers.
Make sure you put the information for the book (or other source) in APA format, just like
you would in the references list. AND add a sentence or two on what the book is good
for (e.g., This textbook provides information on the features of Standard American
English.) This section is akin to providing a miniature annotated bibliography in the
middle of your paper.
These will be academic or informative resources.
You can find examples starting on page 7 below.
Summary of Directions for Part E
*This is a summary only. Be sure to consult the actual directions in your Assessments
Identify two resources a teacher can incorporate into a classroom to help students who speak
non-standard varieties of English to develop competence in SAE. Explain how each resource
will help students understand the value of and gain access to using SAE.
Course Instructor Advice for Part E
Student Resources
These are completely different resources from what you have for Part D. Think of supplements
to the curriculum, picture books or novels with characters from the dialect background, and who
use the dialect when they talk. There may be workbooks, websites, or audio programs designed
for more prevalent dialects. See the explanation below and get creative!
For this section, keep in mind that the aim of teaching kids SAE is not to make them give up
their dialect or variety of English. Learners should not feel belittled or disrespected, but they
should be taught that learning SAE is another set of useful skills. Think about this: Let’s say you
have kids in your class who speak Chicano English. They might equate SAE with white
Americans, and if the kids have feelings of animosity for white people, then they will probably
not be very keen on learning SAE (I don’t wanna talk white!). As a teacher, you have to find a
middle way—learning SAE is not about selling out to white America, and it doesn’t have to
threaten to erase a learner’s cultural and linguistic identity—it may take some work to explain
this, and it requires trust and empathy between the students and teacher. Language is a
gatekeeper. When learners can use their own variety of English AND the standard, they control
language—language doesn’t control them.
Next, you need to find two good resources that you can use with your students. These
resources should be things that will help them learn and practice SAE, and learn to appreciate
and recognize the differences between a dialect and SAE. AND THEN, you must explain how
you will use these resources in your essay. Make sure to cite these resources and include them
in your references list.
• You can find examples starting on page 8 below.
Supplement Section
How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style ←Click!
This is a very helpful article to help you figure out how to cite those websites that present citing
Supplemental Motivational ThoughtStudents from different cultural and dialect/language backgrounds may find socially
constructed walls between them. Here are 3 ways teachers can put cracks in those walls
to develop cross-cultural communication:
1. Learn about each other (“the other”). Our biggest challenge as educators is to
show students that the world isn’t “us and them”.
2. Get them doing something together (donate blood, play soccer, do a service
project), they focus on the game and see each other as teammates.
3. Experiential education- experience the life of others, get tourists involved with
locals, “expose students to something outside the classroom” so they “come back
with an experience, not just information.”
Additional sources If you would like to read more about dialects and creoles:
Adger, C.T. (2006). Issues and implications of English dialects for teaching English as a second
language. TESOL Professional Papers #3. Retrieved from
Blundon, P. H. (2016). Nonstandard dialect and education achievement: Potential implications
for First Nations students. Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology,
40(3). Retrieved
n_218-231.pdf (p. 225)
(You can also find this in WGU’s library: Click on the How Do I? tab> Find a Journal by
name> type in the search box: Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.)
For help understanding standard language varieties (like SAE), dialects, pidgins, and creoles,
read clear descriptions and examples in this informative article: Click!→ Languages, Dialects,
Pidgins and Creoles.
Sample Resources for Teachers
Adger, C.T. (2006). Issues and implications of English dialects for teaching
English as a second language. TESOL Professional Papers #3. (This is in the WGU ebrary in
the E-Reserves, under LPA1 as the course).
Helmer & Eddy, Look at Me When I Talk to You. (This is in the WGU ebrary in the Ebrary Full
Text E-books section).
Center for Applied Linguistics has helpful pages on many dialects, including African American
English, Spanish, and Native American language dialects. On the Home page, type the group
you are researching the the Search box:
Appenzeller, T. & Brennan, K. (2015). Chicano English. Portland State University. Retrieved
Rules of African American Language,, is also a helpful site.
African American English:
Renee, A. (2010). The Rules? of African American Language. Retrieved from
The Rules? of African American Language
Rickford, J. (n.d.). What is Ebonics (African American English)? Retrieved from
Haitian Creole:
MacNeil Lehrer Productions (2005a). Educator Training/Development: Do You Speak
American? Retrieved from
MacNeil Lehrer Productions (2005b). Talking with Mi Gente: The Distinctive Dialect of Chicano
English. Retrieved from
Adger, C.T. (2006). Issues and implications of English dialects for teaching English as a second
language. TESOL Professional Papers #3. Retrieved from
(This is in the WGU ebrary in the E-Reserves, under LPA1 as the course).
Sample Resources for Students

Learn American English on line is dedicated to
enhancing the learning of American English through seven levels of instruction through which
the students proceed in order.
A variety of Creoles:
Mr. Christmas, by Trade Martin (Chicano English)
Do You Speak American? -Talking with Mi Gente
Po’ Boy Blues, by Langston Hughes (African American English)
Mirandy and Brother Wind
Here are a few more ideas that would be acceptable to be used with students and in the
-Web sites that the students can use to learn or practice standard American English (take a look
into Dave’s ESL Café, there are even pages on there that would work)
-Language Dictionaries between the students’ dialect or creole and standard English (you might
be surprised at how many there are). Also, there are lots of books and stories that might
incorporate some of the dialect, but still be written in mostly proper English, or include aspects
of culture.
-Something you find in one of Larry Ferlazzo’s sites:,, or

My Best of series

-People are a wonderful resource, can you think of any people who would come to a class? (I
have been a Spanish teacher, so I have gone into many of my own children’s elementary school
classes to lead an activity or read a picture story in Spanglish, always at the teacher’s request
and with the objective of teaching a little Spanish or pulling in the Spanish-speaking students as
they become the experts-you’d need something different for this assignment, but this is an
example to get you thinking)
-Music or celebrities, who might come from the same culture, but sing/write/act/do
business/sports/politics, etc. in English. This would be a source of inspiration for students from
that backg …
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