College of Arts and Sciences | Ebonics: The Controversy over African American English
E103 | 7756 | Davis
1:25 PM - 2:15 PM MW
See the Schedule of Classes for discussion section times.
This course deals with the controversy concerning Ebonics (African
American Vernacular English). The controversy has several different
aspects and interacts with social, educational, and linguistic
issues. The class takes an academic perspective on the topic in
which we examine and try to understand various aspects of the
controversy. What is Ebonics? Is it a separate language, a dialect,
slang, bad grammar, or really not a distinct entity? Are its
origins traceable to the language systems of Africa, or is it a
variant of Southern English? How do different people in society
view Ebonics and why do they have those views?
Finally, there is a practical question of how to approach the
education of African American children whose home speech is Ebonics.
Should a goal in the education of these children be the purging of
Ebonics so that it does not interfere with the mastery of mainstream
English, or should Ebonics be used as a vehicle for learning
mainstream English? This course deals with these and other issues
through readings, films, group discussions, writing assignments, and
lectures. Grading is based on homework assignments, discussion
participation, and three exams.