Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Research Archive: Black American English

Question: How good are the studies on the effects of spoken Black American English on students’ writing?

Answer: “Few issues in language learning are as controversial as the role and place of Black American English (BAE) in the education of young people. And few issues growing out of this controversy are as confused as that of dialect interference in writing, a term which has been inconsistently used in a literature marked by questionable methodology and interpretation of experimental data that does not always take into account the tradition of research in second language acquisition.”

Comment: This article is an example of negative analysis of research on a controversial topic. Examples of analysis of research are rare. One just assumes when someone says, “Research says….” that the research is true and beyond question.

I would like to have read such a negative analysis of research on the effects of a knowledge of grammar on composition, research that even its champions admitted was faulty. There have been attacks on this research, but none as convincing as this article on research on the effects of Black English on writing. By the way, the main target of this attack replies to it, a model to use when your research is attacked. RayS.

Title: “Dialect Interference in Writing: Another Critical View.” DH Morrow. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1985), 154-180.

No comments: