I find this very interesting because I'm trying to understand where to draw the line. I mean, as a linguist, one analyzes linguistic structure/rules/patterns, but how does one define rules if so many variants are considered acceptable?
And I must admit, part of this comes from teaching high school students who write papers that seem to undermine any linguistic pattern whatsoever.
So when people are being pedantic and irritable, they tend to be about written conventions (its vs it's, spelling, etc.), which is basically ignored by linguists (because it's not natural—you have to be taught how to read and write, while you just sort of... do... spoken/signed language). So the part of the video that linguists don't care about (or makes them sigh and roll their eyes and move on) is where he's whining about it's and its, and less vs fewer (where mostly the party line is that the distinction is kind of dying, so it... sort of doesn't matter? it's at least not interesting), and stuff like that.
But where i can see linguists (and me) getting riled up about it is where he says the broad generalizations that mean that if you're illiterate, you're wrong (not every language has a writing system to begin with, and frequently, it's not the fault of the person but the failure of the educational system) or when he gives snippets of stuff like "need 2 learn grammar gud" or something like that
because in varieties like AAVE, there is no equivalent to "well"—it's systematically "good", all across the board. because it's rule-governed, it's valid. Same thing for sentences like "he be runnin'", which would be awful standard american english, but is just fine AAVE to reflect someone who maybe goes for a run every day.
...basically, it's the saying of the thing where if you don't do it like i do it, it's wrong.
When i'm teaching something and the kids are like "oh but i speak AAVE, so I'm going to write my papers like that!" then i get to explain about different registers—you're not going to write your paper for class in textspeak, just like you wouldn't talk to your grandma like you talk to your friends.
So for some people, because SAE is a learned register (as opposed to their native AAVE or ChE or) that they just haven't learned, it's not okay to discriminate against their speech based on that.
but if they're learning how to write, for example, they are hopefully learning that the register that is considered professional (for better or worse) is this particular style, and it is no better or worse than what they speak at home.
Ok, I can understand the idea that one shouldn't necessarily be considered more valid than the other. However, I'm trying to figure out how the educational system can be more integrative or accepting without compromising its semblance of structure. For example, should we continue to push SAE? Because honestly, most of the students I taught never really learned that anyway. Still, society has deemed it necessary to utilize SAE in order to be "professional." Do we need to change society and our professional standards?
I think it would be awesome if we could change our professional standards to at least accommodate more variability. or, differently, if we keep pushing SAE, it would be vastly improved if people realized that people are not dumb or bad or less qualified if they speak another variety of english that happens to be associated with black people. It makes me think of sexist hiring practices, you know? i was reading something somewhere (tumblr? probably) that when orchestras were hiring people, they had a much more balanced orchestra gender-wise when they did blind auditions AND included a carpet for the people to walk down because their ingrained thoughts about sex were so prevalent and affected their hiring decisions so much.
This is so interesting because independent of linguists, I feel such hierarchal mentalities are so ingrained in our society that we don't even question them anymore. My thought is this (please correct the errors in my ways): At the moment, SAE is taught in schools, so clearly there is causative relationship between knowledge of SAE and one's education. I don't think there is necessarily a correlation between SAE and intelligence, and in that sense, such individuals should not be judged. Still, just like someone would judge another for not knowing the first President of the U.S. or what a water molecule is composed of, it is so ingrained in us to judge based on education.
In order to combat this problem in the linguistic arena, we must combat it everywhere, which seems like quite a difficult task.
I think you're right on, on all counts.
Hmm... ok. Thanks for talking to me about this. I need a bit to process.