CMD 493 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Verb, African American Vernacular English, Code-Switching

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21 Feb 2017
CMD 493: Voices of the Self
1. What are Gilyard’s purposes in writing this book?
2. Gilyard indicates that he is interested in the “psychic costs” that children pay.
What costs is he referring to?
Psychological issues that come with identity; switching dialects between Standard English
and African American English based on situations
3. What linguistic features do you notice about the two following dialogues?
Keith: You gotta cut it (referring to his sister’s braid of hair)
Sister: Then I be a boy Keith? I finish that I be a boy? Copula and habitual “be”
Keith: Yeah you’ll be one. It gon be more fun too. (p. 19)
Keith: What is they doin Sherry? (p. 28) subject verb agreement
Sherry: Oh you so stupid Keith. (p. 28)Copula deletion of “be”
Darnell: Then why you laughin? (p. 28)
Darnell: They doin nasty. (p. 28)
Mother: Haven’t I told you about not coming straight home from school?
Keith: Ma we had a substitute. We had a substitute Ma and she didn’t know what time
to let us out. I ran all the way home.
Mother: Boy don’t tell that barefaced lie. I’ll take the skin off your backside for lyin to
Keith: But I ain’t lyin’ Ma. I ain’t.
Mother: Shut up boy! Ain’t no teacher can keep no class late like that.
Keith: But she was readin us a story
Mother: Shut up I said. Don’t be standin there givin’ me no cold-ass argument. (p. 21)
4. Compare the two extracts that follow in terms of the teaching style employed by a classroom
teacher (the first segment) and a speech-language pathologist (the second segment).
(a classroom science lesson with Miss Novick, Keith’s first grade teacher)
Teacher: (raising candles over her head and waving them) I have here a glass jar with
two simple candles. Can everyone see them?
Class: Yes Miss Novick
Teacher: See them James?
James: Yeah
Teacher: See them Karen
Karen: Uh hunh
Teacher: See them John
John: I sees it
Teacher: Okay (returning candles to desk, lighting them, and holding them over her
Teacher: Now the candles are lit. You see? Rosanne? Ryan? Keith? (students nodded)
Teacher: Now who can tell me what will happen if I set this jar down over one of these
flames? Can anyone tell me? James? (James remained silent) How about you Barbara?
Barbara: You gonna catch the des’ on fire Miss Novick
Teacher: No little scientists. No. No. No. We will not harm the desk. Anyone else?
No? . . . Well let us observe. (placed jar over one of the candle and the
flame went out)
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