25 July 2004
Instructional, he is
In his book The Stories of English, linguist David Crystal says that George Lucas' Jedi Master Yoda speaks in a manner reminiscent of old Anglo-Saxon, and that children studying the English language would find the contrast between old language and new to be interesting.
Crystal also recommends Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings for these students, pointing out that Samwise Gamgee and Gollum spoke non-standard English variants which presumably would be useful for comparison.
Teachers who have despaired of ever imparting standard English to their charges will undoubtedly be delighted at this news.
Posted at 7:29 PM to Almost Yogurt
"... for those teachers, Crystals recommended 'On the Road' or 'Finnegan's Wake.'"
I have thought a lot about this post and feel compelled to say something, only I'm not so sure what to say. I think you already know how I view this so called "non-standard English." Considering my grammar imperfections perhaps it is too bold of me to criticize. As a critical soul I just have to say that I think teaching non-standard English just adds to the demise of the language.
I can see how an occasional foray into non-standard English can be used to make some literary, even grammatical, point, but the teacher, I think, should emphasize that it is non-standard, and don't try this in your term paper, 'kay?
Absolutely. I often use dialect and non-standard English to stress a point in conversation. It is not a way of life and is not something to be included in a curriculum.
Perhaps one day some silly august body will nominate a particular non-standard form of English as THE "Standard Non-Standard English" to be taught side-by-side with Standard English. I'll be lobbying for Beatnik.
At the very least, I'd insist on a referendum maybe a phone-in. We could call it "Dial a Dialect."