Resources: Dr. Lisa Green explains how dialects are rule governed

Dr. Lisa Green received her PhD from UM Amherst in formal syntax (the study of grammar from a theoretical standpoint that assumes that all langauges share the same universal structures).  She then worked at Stanford with professors like Dr. John Rickford, who specializes in sociolinguistics, the study of language variation and change.  She is now considered one of the foremost experts on the grammar of African American dialects, and she has published two major books on the subject: African American English: An Introduction  and Language & the African American Child.

In this video, Dr. Green explains the systematic differences that these dialects have with Standard English and its social purposes.  The talk was given at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, but it was organized with a popular audience in mind.  She does a particularly good job of outlining problems with equating dialects with informal language and with demonstrating variation within Standard Englishes.  She also offers a fairly comprehensive overview of the history of linguistic research surrounding this variety and advice for educators.  Students, teachers, and other linguaphiles should watch this video:

Dr. Lisa Green’s Dialects and the Marketplace: Langauge, Education, Identity, and Attitudes (3-25-10)


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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