Posts Tagged ‘stratification of languages’

Self-Directed Kinetic Resistance Against Fluid Motion Yields Inefficiently-Earned Results, Thus Proving the Reverse Theorem of Convergent Forces Resulting in a Gestalt Energy Scenario (Or, Go with the Flow)

Going with the flow. This guy isn't doing it right.

Here are the things I started thinking about (with Turning Point as the practical context) as I considered the readings. (The Rigg piece really began to interest me once she got to “Problems II.”)

“I did not examine my own stereotypes of women, or of illiterates, or of Mexican migrants” (Rigg 137). This is something I deal with each time I go to Turning Point, each time I think about the boys. Sometimes I get past it and sometimes it keeps me down, oblivious to its presence. (Of course, we never fully “get past” our schemata — the process is hardwired into our brains.)

“[We] never asked Petra what changes she anticipated as a result of learning to read.” (Rigg 137). Rigg goes on to talk about how she feels she failed Petra by focusing on her own goals and philosophy rather than seizing Petra’s (contradictory) goals and philosophy. (That is, she didn’t go with the flow — she fought it.)

The biggest thought, application-wise, that I have after reading that is that we should ask the same question of the guys. Sometimes it can be hard to get them to be serious, but I think they would really benefit from thinking (and writing?) about what they hope to get from the workshop and how they think it will change them. Not only could it help them to realize what they could learn/gain/improve/strengthen from the workshop, but also, such a conversation would help Elliott and me when we’re designing the plans.

“[We] speak an orphan tongue” (Anzaldua 80). It has been interesting to read these two Spanish-related articles in the context of my own education as a future English teacher both of native speakers and of second-language speakers. As I speak (and read and write and think and listen), in my daily life, what amounts to the language of power (barring the exceptions when a little Appalachia comes out), it’s very easy for me to forget that other languages exist, and that there is a stratification among them.

For instance, my working unconscious model of language (that is, when I’m not thinking about it — when I’m in my day-to-day life, habits and occupations) looks something like this:

My language

English — American Standard with academic fluency included

Other languages

AAVE, American “street,” Spanish

“My language” is on top because it just so happens (in my daily life) to be the most powerful language that I come across — that is, I can use it to send email, to joke with the bank teller about forgetting my ID and get away with it just this once, to tell the police officer (prosecutor, judge) why I think a rolling stop on a bicycle at a reasonably quiet intersection is within the spirit of the law, to interview for a job or to ask a professor for an extension. The point is that I don’t have to “code-switch” to use the language that my authorities use and thus to have an edge.

But it’s important for me to realize, way over here in my privileged language that won’t be threatened for some time, that all those other languages do go through unwarranted stratification.