Old Wine in New Bottles: Understanding the Oakland Ebonics Controversy Several years ago, a couple of colleagues and I submitted a manuscript on language variation and education to a major national organization devoted to the teaching of English. One of the reviewers wondered how relevant the discussion would be since “today’s hot issue is really language, not dialect, bilingualism, ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 1997
Old Wine in New Bottles: Understanding the Oakland Ebonics Controversy
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Walt Wolfram
    North Carolina State University
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   October 01, 1997
Old Wine in New Bottles: Understanding the Oakland Ebonics Controversy
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 1997, Vol. 4, 3-8. doi:10.1044/lle4.2.3
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 1997, Vol. 4, 3-8. doi:10.1044/lle4.2.3
Several years ago, a couple of colleagues and I submitted a manuscript on language variation and education to a major national organization devoted to the teaching of English. One of the reviewers wondered how relevant the discussion would be since “today’s hot issue is really language, not dialect, bilingualism, not bidialectalism...the dialect issue has quieted.” I found this response disturbing for a couple of reasons. For one, the response suggested that concerns for language education issues are somehow driven by socioeducational faddishness, rather than authentic educational need. It also indicated a troubling detachment by members of the professional academy from the everyday struggles and concerns of practitioners. Certainly, such a respondent could not have witnessed the same classrooms I had observed in the 1990s, nor talked to the same language practitioners I interacted with on a regular basis in the schools.
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