Is “Bad” English Bad?

No, it ain’t, according to scholars at Yale University

Linguists there are assembling a catalogue of diversity in expression that can be observed across the United States via their Grammatical Diversity Project. They are taking a serious look at regional variations and accepted (and understood) ways of speaking to demonstrate that there is no “one” way to speak English here in the states. Consider some of their examples:

“They didn’ nobody live up there”

“I drank me an iced-tea”

“I was so toast when you stepped into that little adventure”

Their point? All of the variations we hear across the country are not examples of “bad” English but simply variations in English – like the regional variations you can find in any language in any country.

They are not suggesting that kids don’t learn what we might think of as “proper” grammar. That is certainly necessary for a number of contexts and part of an education. But it’s not like kids need to learn the “proper” form because they are using language incorrectly.

So embrace the way y’all talk wherever you are and simply treat “good” English for what it is – just another variant that’s necessary for communication. Or put another way, let’s get rid of saying “that’s not good English” and help kids understand that there are multiple ways they could learn how to speak.

If It Ain’t Broke via

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