Linguistics Chapter 10 Instructors Manual This Covers Features African American English Stereotypes Around

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
English with an Accent: Language-- Ideology and Discrimination in the United States 2nd Edition
Rosina Lippi-Green
Chapter 10
Instructors Manual
This chapter covers:
Features of African American English
Stereotypes around AAVE and the internal variation among AAVE speakers
Anglo attitudes towards AAVE
The complexity of African American attitudes towards AAVE
Sample answers to the questions from the text and the website
From the textbook
1. This chapter doesn’t include a discussion of the AAVE speech or expressive language features
which are so distinctive. Examples include verbal routines and rituals such as preaching,
signifying, boasting, toasting, and call-and-response. Pick one of these and consult the works
cited here to compose a brief description with examples.
2. What misconceptions did you have about AAVE before you began reading this chapter and/or
any additional reading? Do you think these readings and discussions will have any long-term
effect on your own beliefs and reactions?
3. If you are a native speaker of AAVE and you are comfortable doing so, take questions from
your classmates who are unfamiliar with that language. You must be the one to offer this
possibility to the class, so that there is no hint of coercion.
Sample answer: Answers will vary.
4. Read Jordan’s (1995b) Nobody Mean More to Me Than You and the Future Life of Willie
Jordanand prepare to discuss the following issues: (a) How does Jordan’s class room method
compare to Young’s code-meshing approach? How similar or different are her methods and
philosophy compared to code-meshing? (b) Do you think her position on AAVE in the classroom
is visionary, self-deceptive, naïve, bellicose, ethically sound, unrealistic, all/some/none of the
5. What would it take to implement a code-meshing approach in public school classrooms? Can
you anticipate criticisms or objections and respond to them before the fact?
6. Compare Price’s 2009 sports column to the excerpts from Greene’s sports column discussed
in this chapter. In both cases, professional sports broadcasters are expressing negative, even
racist opinions about professional athletes who are also native AAVE speakers. The journalists
who are quoted in Price’s column are African American; Greene is not.
Let's be honest. Many of these guys are just flat-out uneducated, which just speaks to the
hypocrisy of the 'student-athlete' system. If they tried to go up there and speak properly
without major training some would be too uncomfortable, nervous and self-conscious to
say anything worthwhile. . . . this problem has to be fixed before they get to college or
they've got to undergo some training once they get there. I suspect, though, that some
whites are sometimes too scared to correct them for fear of being called racists for
criticizing the way Blacks talk."
a. How is it that these African American journalists feel entitled or obligated to
criticize the athletes’ language?
b. Do you think it’s correct to say that Anglos don’t voice similar criticisms because
they are afraid of being called racist?
c. If Greene’s column is racist, as suggested in this chapter, are the Africa -
American journalists also being racist?
7. Consider the central question of critical language theory: How do people come to invest in
their own unhappiness? Or, as Woodson puts it more emphatically (and perhaps,
controversially): “Here we find that the Negro has failed to recover from his slavish habit of
berating his own and worshipping others as perfect beings” (Woodson 1933: 84). How do these
statements related (1) to each other, and (2) to Greene’s and Price’s columns?
8. Read Toni Cade Bambara’s short story “My Man Bovanne,” which is told from the point of
view of a middle-aged African American woman in conflict with her adult children. Note how
AAVE is used for the dialog of some characters but not others. Bambara is a native AAVE
speaker, and made those decisions consciously.
a. Given the overall theme of the story, how does the variable use of AAVE serve to
illustrate the conflict?
b. How many features of AAVE described in this chapter can you identify in “My Man
Bovanne?” Are there other features that are not described here?
From the website
1. Listen of the samples from African American speakers from several states. Do you notice any
variation in the language varieties used by these speakers?
2. Listen to the samples of other dialects of English other than AAVE and consult the description
of some features of AAVE provided on pages 183. Do you hear any of those features in the non-
Obama Inaugural Speech Translated into Ebonics”
Funny or Die
1. What does this video reveal about attitudes toward “Ebonics” and the people who speak it?
Suggested activities and discussion questions
1. Ask your students what types of public figures they think use AAVE the most on television
(e.g. politicians, actors, athletes, musicians, writers, newscasters, etc.). Why do they think some
groups use AAVE more than others?
2. Ask your students to take notes on any use of AAVE while they watch TV over a set time
period. Encourage them to note who uses AAVE, as well as the context of the utterance and
some general information about what features of AAVE were used. For example, did the speaker
use general intonational features, pronunciations, or grammatical features of AAVE? Can your
students find any patterns in their data? Ask them to reflect on what they found and how they
3. As a class or individually, read the anonymous letter found at this website:
Then read this article about African American English entitled “Performing „truth‟: Black speech
Discuss the differences in the perspectives expressed in these two websites. Which point of view
do the students identify with more? Why do they feel the way they do?

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