The dilemma of the importance of teaching Standard English to pupils in preference to their native dialect remains unsolved nowadays. The main reason of the controversial issue is the ambiguous origin of this type of language. It is still not defined as the other dialect form that is either necessary for successful communication or just way of limitation cultural diversity to the particular boundaries. Standard English introduces the social inequality to the English speaking community as it diminishes the value of the certain dialects. However, it is more expedient to teach pupils written variant rather than spoken one. Therefore, it will result in their involvement in the global conversation without deprivation of cultural identity.
According to the current researches, Standard English is just the other form of dialect. Peculiar lexical, syntactic, and phonological patterns characterize this language variation. These patterns can be conditioned both by geographical and social reasons (“Students’ Right”). Due to historical facts, English language possessed the wide range of dialects at the beginning of its existence. However, when London was a center of the political and commercial life of England, the dialect appeared there became the one that was considered to be preferred as it was used in printing press (“Students’ Right”). American settlers brought this dialect to the continent and considered as the privileged or standard in New England.
This historical background shows that no real linguistic evidence can prove the priority of Standard English above the other dialects. The fact that it is still the main standard for printing press demonstrates only the necessity of teaching its written variant without emphasizing the spoken one. It does not give any guarantee that knowledge of spoken Standard English is the essential condition to achieve career success and obtain higher social status. It is enough to possess written Standard English to become involved in the global conversation. Most of the claims regarding the difficulties of understanding the utterance of those who use dialects are connected with the ignoring of the content of utterance while paying much attention to the surface patterns like rhythm and pronunciation (“Students’ Right”). In fact, the superiority of Standard English is only the myth. The certain historical circumstances (not the lack of intelligence) condition dialects. If the person has enough education to communicate in his/her native dialect and be understandable by other people, then it is not necessary to change the cultural peculiarities of the utterance. The same situation is with those people who are coming from the social background possessed the prestigious dialect: they acquire their social preference not in result of schooling but due to their social origin (“Students’ Right”). In this case, it is possible to consider Standard English teaching is the matter of social issue as it tends to mark the pupils by their linguistic identity.
That is why the importance of teaching Standard English has to correspond to the resolution of language adopted in November 1974. It claims the learning process’ necessity to respect the linguistic and cultural diversity of pupils and their right to language (“Students’ Right”). It is a common issue when the written assignment is full of grammar mistakes, which are defined by Standard English, but possesses deep content and creativity. At the same time, a grammatically correct essay can be deprived of originality and writing craft (“Students’ Right”). Therefore, Standard English teaching has to be limited to the scope of writing and reading skills. However, one should take into consideration the cultural peculiarities of the pupils and their linguistic background. By setting the certain limits to the child’s utterance as the preferable to his/her native ones, teachers can provoke the sense of inferiority. It will produce the unwillingness to express person’s real original thoughts showing pupil’s identity.
However, not all educators agree with the unimportance of the introducing Spoken Standard English into the students’ studying. It is common prejudice that Standard Spoken English is a necessity of the successful career achievements. Also, the use of Standard variant in communication expresses respect to the audience possessing some common set of linguistic units required to be understandable. The need to definite formal contexts, which require certain linguistic culture, justifies the usage of Spoken Standard English.
At the same time, if the Spoken Standard is the respect to the audience, it must be questioned why the audience cannot recognize the speaker by his/her cultural peculiarities and try to understand his manner of speech as the essential part of his self-concept. Cultural diversity is one of the main heritages that make the world community so unlike on each other. It will be enough to unify the written patterns and teach children how to write and comprehend the Standard English to understand each other in official and international communication. However, it is more important to praise the unique external form of dialect for preserving the cultural diversity.
The development of the corresponded writing and reading skills limits the necessity of teaching Standard English in schools. The praise of the Spoken Standard can lead to the cultural unification and development of the sense of inferiority in other pupils. There are no other linguistic pieces of evidence regarding the superiority of the Standard Dialect that prove that connection between the intelligence and dialect. In fact, it would be more interesting to see how the linguistic patterns of world communication and the official context, in particular, can change, if dialects were praised in schools in greater extent. Perhaps it could introduce the new linguistic and social standards that could preserve the cultural diversity of the world community.
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