The Instigator
InVinoVeritas
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
Phido
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Teachers should learn how to speak in Ebonics if teaching in a community where it is prevalent.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
InVinoVeritas
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,147 times Debate No: 22135
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (3)

 

InVinoVeritas

Pro

Resolution: Teachers who teach in a schooling institution in the United States where Ebonics is a very common dialect (such as in certain urban communities or in parts of the South) should be trained to speak in Ebonics.

The first round is for acceptance.
Phido

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
InVinoVeritas

Pro

Language is the primary means of instruction and learning in schooling institutions. Linguistic disparities that exist between a school's language of instruction and the language of non-native speakers of English and speakers of non-standard dialects cause academic problems among students.

Ebonics, or African American Vernacular English (AAVE), is a dialect (or, as argued by some specialists, a language.) The debate over whether or not it is, however, irrelevant, because such a distinction typically lies in political issues (as we can see in the case of the Sweden and Norwegian languages, which are mutually comprehensible, but take on the roles of different languages through political intervention.) From the perspective of a linguist, I view the distinction between language and dialect to be irrelevant to the matter at hand, due to its artificial, political nature; what truly matters is whether or not it would be valid to accept it into the system as a means of instruction and learning in an academic environment.

Ebonics is a very easily distinguishable dialect of English due to its unique grammatical, lexical, and phonological features. [1] In a study of Inuit students, it was proven that learning in one's own language benefited academic achievement. Through being taught in their native aboriginal language, these students were able to perform better in school and improve self-esteem at the same time. [2] Teaching in local languages has been supported time and time again through studies. [3]

Claims that AAVE is "invalid," or "broken English," or "ungrammatical" are unfounded. No language is more sound or logical than another. Although it differs from prescriptive Standard English, it is still used in communities to convey complex meaning and has pragmatic and semantic significance in its cultural context. The idea that AAVE is systematic and expressive in nature is founded in decades of research, as explained by the Linguistic Society of America. [4]

The teaching of Standard English is important, of course, since knowing it is clearly advantageous for those who reside in the United States. Standard English should, indeed, be taught to students who reside in predominantly AAVE-speaking communities, but the means of instruction and learning should incorporate AAVE; this would naturally require teachers who instruct in these communities to be instructed to be able to speak at a conversational level in AAVE. Therefore, having teachers instruct using AAVE in schools with students from AAVE-speaking communities, would be pedagogically sound, from a linguistic perspective.

[1] http://www.stanford.edu...
[2] http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca...
[3] http://siteresources.worldbank.org...
[4] http://linguistlist.org...
Phido

Con

InVinoVeritas, thank you for the interesting topic for my first debate , good luck to you! Also, i like Doc Holliday as well!

Language is indeed one of the primary means of instruction in institutions of learning, however linguistic disparities should be embraced only in so much as is necessary to correct the disparities, and will prove such throughout this discourse. The concept that any language/dialect let alone Ebonics or "African American Vernacular English" be condoned as a method of communication within our education system is a step in the wrong direction.

It is concurrent that whether or not this system of communication is to be considered a language or dialect is irrelevant; however the study referencing Inuit students is also of questionable relevancy for several reasons. First, comparing a inarticulate pattern of speaking like Ebonics to any established language (such as Inuktitut, Spanish or Swedish) might make sense to a linguist, but with a more thorough examination the two are incomparable. One reason is the history of these languages, all of these languages have been spoken for a thousand or more years, as opposed to Ebonics which at most has been around for a few hundred ( realistically much less in defined form). A second reason is while the study proves a few points most would view as common sense, e.g. learning multiple languages early in life expands mental capabilities and self-esteem, it does not support any hypothesis that students can gain anything from speaking Ebonics. While such studies would seem indicative of a necessity to embrace minority languages, Ebonics would not be supported as such as a case, it is not a language of progress, nor does it offer us a rich history or fresh outlook.

I would intensely argue that African American Vernacular English, as socio-linguists choose to call this inadequate and limiting dialect, is invalid, ungrammatical and the speaking of it while somewhat lucrative in a limited market revolving around keeping uneducated people (of any race) from paying attention to the "real" world, is without merit. If as my opponent suggests, no language is more sound or logical or even "superior" to another, what can we learn from scholars and educated individuals who choose Ebonics as their medium? It is fact that the stories of El Cid are more compelling in Spanish, or that Voltaire's Candid stirs more emotion when read in French, should we translate these classics into Ebonics because a small portion of our society can't be held accountable for keeping up with the most mundane and undemanding education? We would certainly have to translate our holy texts to save their souls, I'm sure a lot would be lost in translation from the Quran's natural and necessary Arabic to "AAVE", no this is a ridiculous notion. This new dialect of a counter-culture of uneducated youth reared by uneducated adults (whom statistically would be extremely against this notion, because they know Ebonics won't help their children get jobs), does not contain the necessary components to convey essential ambiguous messages about defined thoughts and concepts that are more than simple pragmatics.

The thought that we must train our teachers in certain areas to speak to children that come from homes where apparently parents cannot do their jobs, is irrational and unnecessary, if we follow through we would soon find that our Asian, Spanish, Arabic (simplification of course, this would include all tribal languages), Russian, communities would all need to their own programs too. In Texas there is a much more pressing issue with the Spanish language that resembles the Ebonics dispute, however the conditions are vastly different, considering there is around 5.5 million children from Spanish dominant households in our education system. Many states experience over 100% jumps in students with a genuine need to learn English, as they have had very little to no exposure before entering our schools, every 5 years. While Linguists (such as John Rickford of Stanford) that support the integration of methods as my opponent advocates have seen some successes, it is not conclusive evidence of the need for AAVE to be supported at all in the culture of our education system. Our society must get away from the concept of "no child left behind" mentalities that seem to be a noble at first glance, however with closer examination is proven to be lowering our education standards and creating an education system that is less than what we should deem sufficient, if we can gain nothing academically from exploring Ebonics then why should we waste time with it?

In conclusion, while it may seem pedagogically sound to donate time towards this endeavor; there are much more efficient and better methods to educate these youths to be productive citizens in our society, as well as many more pressing problems our education system is faced with today. Our focus should be on compelling compliance with societies norms (both by students and also their parents, potentially outreach programs are a better place for AAVE to English classes) instead of becoming complacent and supportive of divisions within our classrooms, speaking a dialect of the dominant language, while creating a long list of abbreviations and constantly referencing rap songs is not a language, it's a slang of no worth and should be stamped out (in schools) to give these children a better shot at life.

http://usliberals.about.com...
http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca...
http://en.wikipedia.org... .
http://www.tea.state.tx.us...
http://linguistlist.org...
http://www.makestupidityhistory.org...
http://www.pbs.org...
http://mises.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
InVinoVeritas

Pro

Con states that "linguistic disparities should be embraced only in so much as is necessary to correct the disparities." These disparities do not need to be "corrected"; linguistic disparities allow language to evolve. We see this in many facets of English language. The meaning of the word "awesome," for example, has changed much over time. What at one point was viewed as a vernacular sense of the word (e.g., "Dude, you got a guitar! that's awesome!") is now the most prominent interpretation of the word. Moreover, we adopt words from other languages into our own (e.g., "vodka") when we notice that the word is significant in our own cultural context, so linguistic disparities already do resolve naturally through the evolution of language and adoption of loanwords. [1]

Con then states that the Inuit study was irrelevant for two reasons, which I will address.
1) The opponent argues that "all other languages" have been spoken for a thousand or more years, while AAVE has not. On the contrary, it should be noted once again that languages are constantly evolving. The English spoken several centuries ago is very, very different from the English spoken now; in fact, one can say that they are entirely different languages (or dialects, depending on one's arbitrary definition.) Another point that should be established is that one language, through evolution, can branch into different ones. An example of this would be the branching off of Latin into many languages, such as the Romance languages. [2] In the same way, English branched off into AAVE.
2) The opponent's second argument claims that Ebonics should not be embraced as a minority language because it is "not a language of progress, nor does it offer us a rich history or fresh outlook." Contrary to the opponent's claims, there is no such thing as a "language of progress," and the opponent has yet to prove that Standard English encourages progress more than AAVE. Furthermore, the opponent has yet to validate his claims that AAVE does not offer a rich history or fresh outlook. It is worth noting that such a claim is subjective, anyway; who is to judge the "richness" of history or the "freshness" of an outlook?

The opponent argues that AAVE is an "inadequate and limiting dialect, is invalid, [and] ungrammatical." A question arises: What is the opponent comparing the adequacy, restrictiveness, validity, and grammatical soundness of AAVE to? Indeed, translating one language into another is difficult, and it is often impossible to maintain identical semantic structure. A translation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in French would probably be imperfect, especially due to the heavy use of English vernacular that could only be equivocated with rough French translations. This issue would be due to fundamental structural differences between French and English, as well as a different lexicon, leading to differences in semantic representation. This, however, cannot lead one to infer that one language is superior to another. If we were to translate AAVE into English, we would not come out with a perfect product; in the same way, an English-to-AAVE translation would not be perfect. This does not show the superiority of one language to another, but rather shows that there are fundamental differences in structure. Ebonics "does not contain the necessary components to convey essential messages about defined thoughts and concepts" (in the words of the opponent) in English just like English does not contain the necessary components to convey all messages in French, or German, or Ebonics, for that matter.

The opponent claims that "it is unfair to train our teachers in certain areas to speak to child that come from homes where apparently parents cannot do their jobs." Firstly, it is not necessarily true that the parents of children who learn to speak AAVE "cannot do their jobs." They speak in the AAVE language/dialect, and their children acquire the same native language. This has nothing to do with how adequately the parents "do their jobs" or the families' socioeconomic status. The fact of the matter is that the youth of certain communities are more familiar with AAVE than Standard English and therefore, for the purpose of more efficient instruction, AAVE should be integrated into the schooling curricula of educational institutions in those areas. The "No Child Left Behind Act" does not involve the implementation of specific languages to suit the linguistic knowledge of youth within a given community [3]; hence, it is not germane to the resolution.

The opponent states that AAVE involves "creating a long list of abbreviations and constantly referencing rap songs." This is a ridiculously oversimplified interpretation of AAVE, which has its own morphological, syntactical, and phonological rules that differ from those of English. [4] The opponent describes it as "a dialect of the dominant language," when it was already established (and conceded by the opponent) that the disparity between "language" and "dialect" are insignificant in the context of this debate. And, in accordance to the opponent's logic, the Romance languages, which stem from Latin, are all skewed versions of Latin, or "the dominant language," as the opponent would call it.

In conclusion, the concept of dominance of one language over another that the opponent is advocating is a blatantly false concept, and it fails to attack the resolution. In order to teach students in class more efficiently, it would be pedagogically sound to incorporate the students' native tongue, as explained by the Linguistic Society of America. [5]

---

(As an aside, Con should use in-text citations in order to assert his points in a more clear, organized manner.)

[1] http://www.ruf.rice.edu...
[2] http://www.britannica.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.hawaii.edu...
[5] http://www-personal.umich.edu...
Phido

Con

Pro states that linguistic disparity should not be corrected and points out that all languages evolve over time; an astute observation to be certain, everything does change with time. However, the concept that counter-cultures and the divisions they create should not be brought into accordance with mainstream society, especially in situations of education and business does not make sense whatsoever. He speaks on the evolution of the romance languages from the Vulgar Latin dominate within the Roman Empire, this not only does not contribute to the case of supporting Ebonics, it also further proves the ability of one language to dominate others (a concept that pro states is blatantly false). There are over twenty-five languages that are descended from Vulgar Latin, and these languages did not develop because Roman law allowed its citizens (or even its subjugated peoples) to speak in their mother-tongues, every citizen was educated and conducted business in the Latin that Rome made dominant. [2] Instead of allowing its people to create divisions amongst themselves, Rome demanded solidarity in the market place and schools, it wasn't until the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and centuries of geographic and political isolation that created these dialects and languages. The concept of a dominant language is clearly shown by the Roman Empire and its Vulgar Latin, there is no justification that one language cannot be dominate as pro suggests, even if it is only by force and political means. However, I would argue that it is not only a political and far superior base of speakers that makes languages dominant over another, but it is also the capabilities of the language.
Pro states that the argument based on the validity of Ebonics being "not a language of progress, or being capable of offering us rich history or fresh viewpoints" as subjective and without proof; I will again argue that AAVE is an "inadequate and limiting dialect, is invalid, ungrammatical, and the speaking of it while somewhat lucrative in a limited market revolving around keeping uneducated people (of any race) from paying attention to the "real" world". As pro does not offer any contribution that Ebonics has given society I will list a few:
1) Kanye West in the song "Otis" among other lyrics states "Or the big-face rollie, I got two of those" referring to Rolex watches. [3]
2) Tupac Shakur in the song "Straight Ballin" states "and getting ghost on the 5-0" speaking about police officers. [3]
3) Nina Simone in the song "It Be's that way sometime. [3]
These are some significant contributions to be certain, and it is my opinion as subjective and solitaire that it may be, that they are not adequate at all; instead being focused on making money off of ignorant people. Pro makes a valid claim that Ebonics gives us rich new understanding of human interaction… if we find it in such lyrics as these. He then states in response to my original argument (which he fails to rebuke) that "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" if written in French would be imperfect, a valid point, but does not resolve the point that Ebonics has nothing to give us. He argues that differences in semantic representation cannot lead one to infer that one language is superior to another, however this is false, a language should be judged on its ability to convey meaning. I stand by the statement that "Ebonics does not contain the necessary components to convey essential messages" for several reasons;
1)How would Ebonics convey the paradox of the stone?
2)Would it be able to convey Plato's parable of the cave? (Any philosophy?)
3)Could it convey different principles of thermodynamics or molecular science?
4)Assorted diseases and the threats of pandemic?
5)Mental health and development among youth throughout demographics?
I would argue that Ebonics could not clearly define nor teach any of these concepts, it is a restrictive limited dialect that is inadequate when compared to languages that have reached what society could label as mature, as these mature languages can communicate deeper meanings and thought processes. While Pro validly states that there would be something lost in most if not all translations, the level of loss in any translation into AAVE, creates no notion in my mind for the support of Ebonics (nor supports the quality of the language) within our school houses.
Pro also states that the Inuit study is relevant because languages evolve an example of which is the development of the Romance languages from Latin. This point does not speak of the original problems that cause the study to be irrelevant.
1) Simply put, there is nothing to gain from the AAVE, and as such it should not be supported.
2) The evolution of languages over many years does not support a country to allow and support divisions within its education system
While the Inuit study is interesting and supports programs like TEFL and the like, it does not support my opponent's case that our society should support divisions and every minority group in our country.
The opponent states that there is not a language of progress; is it not apparent that most of the world speaks Mandarin, English, Spanish, Arabic and Russian when conducting business? [1] Outside of the previously mentioned music and advertising industries that are focused on bleeding ignorant people, no industry is looking for experts in AAVE. Pro states repetitively that "In conclusion, the concept of dominance of one language over another that the opponent is advocating is a blatantly false concept, and it fails to attack the resolution" , however this is simply wrong, in the future English will maintain a dominate position, only second to Chinese. [1] He also incorrectly quotes con's argument with the statement "it is unfair to train our teachers…jobs" what was said originally is that it is "irrational and unnecessary" and as my original statement stands without rebuke I will further it. Pro states that "they speak in the AAVE language/dialect and their children acquire the same native language. This is nothing to do with how adequately the parents "do their jobs" or the families' socioeconomic status" Ill point out that English is the dominant language in our country and has been since its creation, and as such education in English has been available for quite a while, aside from a very minute percentage of immigrants from Creole majority islands, there is no excuse. [3] Pro also brings up my argument that we must get away from the "No Child Left Behind Act" mentality, stating that it is not germane to the resolution of this debate, however I will disagree and clarify. The mentality I speak of is the constant need to make our education system fit all people, it lowers standards and has been proven to create problems, only if a large enough percentage as in the Spanish speaking population should our system make changes.
In conclusion Ebonics still seems to be a long list of incoherent lazy rap lyrics and regardless of its "morphological, syntactical, and phonological rules" it is incapable of meaningful communication, if we allow the speaking of it, why should we not allow Pig-Latin too, it has a set of rules does it not? Perhaps we should train our teachers to speak that so that they can make more sense to little kids that want to goof off. The unity our nation has in its language has been one of the things that makes us great, unlike Europe or Asia where a few miles can mean great divisions in comprehension, we all speak and think the same. If we gain nothing from allowing children to speak Ebonics, and it seems still readily apparent that we don't, instilling in them a false sense of pride or allowance of the habit will only further the problem. Instead we must be ready to deal with the problem with proper education in our dominant language, and prepare them to be productive in our society, anything less is failure.
Debate Round No. 3
InVinoVeritas

Pro

"However, the concept that counter-cultures and the divisions they create should not be brought into accordance with mainstream society, especially in situations of education and business does not make sense whatsoever."
This was never stated. This debate is about whether or not teachers should be taught Ebonics so that they could incorporate it in pedagogical instructions. Indeed, AAVE-users should learn Standard English in order to do well in society. My argument is, though, that instruction of Standard English should incorporate AAVE, so that the students would be able to understand Standard English through the lens of their native language/dialect, AAVE.

"He speaks on the evolution of the romance languages from the Vulgar Latin dominate within the Roman Empire, this not only does not contribute to the case of supporting Ebonics, it also further proves the ability of one language to dominate others (a concept that pro states is blatantly false)."
Straw Man Argument. It was never stated that a language cannot be dominant in a society.

"However, I would argue that it is not only a political and far superior base of speakers that makes languages dominant over another, but it is also the capabilities of the language."
Again, a language is not static; as a culture feels that the incorporation of new words would be advantageous, the culture develops its language to include them. This is the evolution of a language from a sociocultural perspective. As an aside, the opponent is drifting away from the resolution; this is not about whether or not AAVE is superior or not. Rather, this is about whether it should be incorporated in the education system as a means of instruction. Whether or not it is a "lesser language", which the opponent believes (and I have rejected), the fact of the matter is that people within communities do speak it. And in order to more effectively teach these students Standard English, as well as other subjects, it would be beneficial to incorporate AAVE into the curricula of institutions in such communities. This is not about hypothetical "superiority," as the opponent seems to interpret it, but rather a matter of pragmatism.

"As pro does not offer any contribution that Ebonics has given society I will list a few: [blah blah blah]"
These are silly mainstream examples that are irrelevant to AAVE in their natural cultural context. But whether or not AAVE contributed to society or not (and I would argue that no language inherently contributes anything), it is a predominant language in some communities. Hence, it would be in the best interest of students from these communities and educational facilities (who seek strong results from their student bodies) to incorporate AAVE in their didactic curricula.

"I would argue that Ebonics could not clearly define nor teach any of these concepts, it is a restrictive limited dialect that is inadequate when compared to languages that have reached what society could label as mature, as these mature languages can communicate deeper meanings and thought processes."
AAVE cannot explain certain concepts in other languages for the same reason that English cannot explain concepts in other languages (including AAVE.) And this does not attack the resolution. Teachers could use a combination of Ebonics and English to get points across (if Ebonics does not seem suitable to describe a certain concept); this would still involve the incorporation of Ebonics.

---

The opponent seems to be dodging the point of the resolution. Whether or not AAVE is an acceptable or unacceptable language in the eyes of the opponent, the fact of the matter is that people in certain urban communities and areas in the South use AAVE as their native language. In order to assimilate them into our education system, we should use their native language/dialect AAVE to convey ideas to them and to teach them Standard English and other subjects. To teach Russian people English, ESL instructors explain concepts of the English language in Russian; in the same way, English (along with other subjects) should be explained through the lens of AAVE to AAVE-speaking students in order to more effectively get information across to them.

In conclusion, it would be pedagogically sound to implement AAVE in the academic curricula of academic institutions in communities where AAVE is prevalent. The opponent has provided arguments that are not germane to the resolution, and those that were were effectively refuted.

Many thanks to the opponent and readers/voters.


Phido

Con

"However, the concept that counter-cultures and the divisions they create should not be brought into accordance with mainstream society, especially in situations of education and business does not make sense whatsoever."

This was never stated. This debate is about whether or not teachers should be taught Ebonics so that they could incorporate it in pedagogical instructions. Indeed, AAVE-users should learn Standard English in order to do well in society. My argument is, though, that instruction of Standard English should incorporate AAVE, so that the students would be able to understand Standard English through the lens of their native language/dialect, AAVE.

"These disparities do not need to be "corrected"" Pro, round 3.

I understand that the debate is whether or not communities with a percentage (that has not been established) of AAVE speakers should incorporate AAVE in hopes to better reach some of their students. My point is that we gain nothing from allowing Ebonics to hold any place in our classrooms, there have been no conclusive studies supporting the advancement of this dialect in enhancing a student's mental process or understanding of the world. If we can gain nothing in the pursuit of improving these children and communities by incorporating and supporting the small percentage that speaks Ebonics, then we should not do so.

"He speaks on the evolution of the romance languages from the Vulgar Latin dominate within the Roman Empire, this not only does not contribute to the case of supporting Ebonics, it also further proves the ability of one language to dominate others (a concept that pro states is blatantly false)."

Straw Man Argument. It was never stated that a language cannot be dominant in a society.

straw man-.To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position
Alright,

"Contrary to the opponent's claims, there is no such thing as a "language of progress," and the opponent has yet to prove that Standard English encourages progress more than AAVE."
"The concept of dominance of one language over another that the opponent is advocating is a blatantly false concept, and it fails to attack the resolution" pro round 3
Pro has indeed stated that one language cannot be dominant in society. This topic was discussed because my main premise is that if we do not gain from instilling in youth a tolerate attitude towards speaking Ebonics, then we should not do so.

"However, I would argue that it is not only a political and far superior base of speakers that makes languages dominant over another, but it is also the capabilities of the language."

Again, a language is not static; as a culture feels that the incorporation of new words would be advantageous, the culture develops its language to include them. This is the evolution of a language from a sociocultural perspective. As an aside, the opponent is drifting away from the resolution; this is not about whether or not AAVE is superior or not. Rather, this is about whether it should be incorporated in the education system as a means of instruction. Whether or not it is a "lesser language", which the opponent believes (and I have rejected), the fact of the matter is that people within communities do speak it. And in order to more effectively teach these students Standard English, as well as other subjects, it would be beneficial to incorporate AAVE into the curricula of institutions in such communities. This is not about hypothetical "superiority," as the opponent seems to interpret it, but rather a matter of pragmatism.
Again, it was never stated that the debate was held with the purpose of proving that AAVE was less capable than standard English, that is common sense and is acknowledge by all. The capabilities of the language were brought up to again show that Ebonics gives nothing and creates ridiculous bad habits while limiting academic growth. It would NOT be beneficial to incorporate AAVE in our school systems, and we should not do so.

"As pro does not offer any contribution that Ebonics has given society I will list a few: [blah blah blah]"

These are silly mainstream examples that are irrelevant to AAVE in their natural cultural context. But whether or not AAVE contributed to society or not (and I would argue that no language inherently contributes anything), it is a predominant language in some communities. Hence, it would be in the best interest of students from these communities and educational facilities (who seek strong results from their student bodies) to incorporate AAVE in their didactic curricula.
While my opponent seems to want to point out fallacies in my argument, he seems an inherent cherry picker incapable of countering my points against Ebonics. These "communities" represent a very small fraction of our society at best, and they are surrounded by people speaking standard English, and they have been for several hundred years now I believe. The concept that anyone other than immigrants(as previously mentioned in the case of Spanish) should be afforded special attention is a ridiculous one. This section of our populace has no excuse to not grasp our national language, if their parents are at fault then we should educate them as well, not in the school place, but in the communities.
Also, there was no counter against the ridiculous influence that Ebonics has on society ( most often the uneducated section of society these programs would target ) the majority of the time. Ebonics should not be supported in our classrooms, instead we should educate our children to be productive members of our society, using Ebonics as a vessel would see our educators gain nothing.

"I would argue that Ebonics could not clearly define nor teach any of these concepts, it is a restrictive limited dialect that is inadequate when compared to languages that have reached what society could label as mature, as these mature languages can communicate deeper meanings and thought processes."

AAVE cannot explain certain concepts in other languages for the same reason that English cannot explain concepts in other languages (including AAVE.) And this does not attack the resolution. Teachers could use a combination of Ebonics and English to get points across (if Ebonics does not seem suitable to describe a certain concept); this would still involve the incorporation of Ebonics.
Once again, my thesis is that AAVE cannot explain these concepts and many others at all, if it has to draw so heavily on Standard English to communicate higher thought, why would we commit any time to supporting it in our children's mental development?
---
While it is agreed that to teach students with a firm background in a foreign language, such as Russian or Spanish, the incorporation of the students natural language is beneficial. I see no benefit to supporting divisions in our classrooms based on supporting a dialect known as AAVE, this is for several reasons that have been stated, however to summarize:
1)Ebonics is incapable of communicating many concepts, including educational ones.
2)The use of Ebonics in Mainstream culture and media has only harmed the communities that we would be attempting to help by such programs, instead of supporting this; we should draw a firm line and not allow it.
3)There is not a large enough percentage of our populace that could really warrant any such program, in comparison with immigrant groups, and as such we should not feel required to change our education system. Also this group has had ample opportunity to learn Standard English.

In conclusion, AAVE should not be supported in the classroom, there is nothing to gain from it. Also, thank you for the debate, i learned quite a bit!
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Phido 4 years ago
Phido
I agree, and will do as you suggest... i see what you mean... Thankyou very much.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
The question wasn't whether or not Standard English should be in schools. The question is whether or not Ebonics should be at all implemented in schools' curricula, specifically when the population around the school is AAVE-speaking. The closeness of Standard English to AAVE is irrelevant; people can be AAVE native speakers or English native speakers.

Anyway, interesting vote by Roy, to say the very least. Thanks for sharing your insight.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Phido, Read McWhorter on the subject of primitive languages. There are many other books on linguistics that back him up.

I think the main problem is not knowing the depth of so-called primitive languages. It turns out that in everyday conversation, the speakers of any language use a vocabulary of roughly 15,000 words. Primitive societies are not worrying about packet loss over the internet and such, so they will have a disadvantage on subjects that have to do with modern society. They will have an advantage in the vocabulary dealing with their natural environment. Eskimos do not have a thousand words for snow, but they do have dozens of words dealing with different types of ice. They might wonder how English speakers can possibly talk rationally about ice. We do, but it takes more words.

All languages have to cope with human relationships. A tribal language in Africa has a word for "they met in the forest and each paused waiting for the other to speak." Languages all do well in human interaction. A Polynesian language has a word for "hoping that a great wave will come and wash the dead whale out of the lagoon." I think that concept could be applied in many situations.

The question is not about vocabulary, because that can be overcome by using more words, but rather about having all of the language constructs needed to communicate. Older languages tend to be simpler than newer ones. Chinese has no past tense, plurals, or gender pronouns, and it works fine. "I go yesterday" works for "I went." You recognize "he" or "she" from the context, and so forth. It works. Navaho is frequently cited as the world's most complex and difficult language. It works fine too. Ebonics has all the necessary language mechanisms for communication.
Posted by Phido 4 years ago
Phido
while i agree and tried to make that point, i do still not understand how there are "no" primitive languages, ill research the sources you provide,.. but still find it difficult to think of Any of the messages conveyed in .. .say,... Paradise Lost, to be expressed in ebonics. Thanks again.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
McWhorter is a linguist and an excellent scholar. His book establishes what is now common knowledge among linguists, that there are no "primitive" languages in terms of ability to express concepts. There are differences in vocabulary, and English wins that hands down, with more words for more things than any other language. Other languages now typically adopt the English word for something not in the native language.

Even though ebonics is as functional and expressive an American must know standard English to be successful. There a parallel with the accent that used to be prevalent in the South. Fifty years ago, the accent was so strong in some places that speech was barely comprehensive or incomprehensible to outsiders. National media exposure and mobility has diminished the accent so there is still a remnant, but very few people are difficult to understand.

The goal for education is to ensure that people can speak standard English so they can communicate successfully with the rest of society. The question is then whether that is best accomplished by immersion or fostering bilingualism through keeping separate languages. Because ebonics is close to stand English, I think immersion wins hands down. Children are extremely adept at language, and in households where the parents speak English and the grandparents speak a foreign language (perhaps Chinese), pre-school children can pick up both languages without ever getting the two confused.

It was interesting to watch when Bill Clinton gave speeches in the South. He would adopt a southern accent. He was accused of posturing, but I think it was completely natural. He was using a slight form of bilingualism to help communicate with his audience. Obama is sometimes affecting an ebonics accent for some audiences; he was raised in Hawaii so it's probably not natural, but rather a slight learned bilingualism. those guys have the right idea. Standard English should be in schools.
Posted by Phido 4 years ago
Phido
thanks RoyLatham, ill keep that in mind.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
Whether or not AAVE is a dominant language or not in the context of the entire country is completely irrelevant to the resolution, so I do not see where Roy is coming from.
Posted by Phido 4 years ago
Phido
lol bump
Posted by IrisArts 4 years ago
IrisArts
http://www.debate.org...
Please react on our debate, it's a project on our school and we really want to get a high mark.
sorry for advertising on your comment page but we really need the comments
Posted by Phido 4 years ago
Phido
damn, i must not have read that well enough, i apoligize, my first debate. Thanks for the heads up.
ill look the other up also, appreciated!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
InVinoVeritasPhidoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: A debate that is very difficult to judge because, in my view, both sides made incorrect arguments. Ebonics is as functional as any other language. Pro's evidence on the value of teaching in native languages was for students with no knowledge of English, and ebonics is close to English. I'll arguments to Con based upon his general arguments on the theme of integrating into the dominant language. Con lost conduct for "he seems an inherent cherry picker incapable of countering my points"
Vote Placed by frozen_eclipse 4 years ago
frozen_eclipse
InVinoVeritasPhidoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: if teachers were to lean teach and speak in this manner as well. then this so called dialect will become a common form of speech. and its not beneficial . also students will not try to learn english to the best of there ability if all teachers are promoting this improper speech.
Vote Placed by baggins 4 years ago
baggins
InVinoVeritasPhidoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: At primary level, student's response is best when language at home is also used at school. It is desirable from pedagogic POV to at least include local language into curriculum, even if it is not used as a medium of instructions. The core argument by Pro is not refuted. Arguments about deficiency of AAVE appear to be irrelevant to the debate. Con's last round arguments are poorly organized and appear to have been written in hurry.