Previous | Next
568569570571572573574575576577578579580581582583584585586587588589590591592593594595596597598599600601602603604605606607608609610611612613614615616617618619620621622623624625626627628629630631632633634635636637638639 of 763
vocabulary cassettes, you know, cassettes to increase-- and it says
something about you're judged by your language and your vocabulary.
“Buy this cassette and it will increase your vocabulary.” I don't know
about the cassettes, but it was Harold Lasky who said that one way in
which the British could deal with its class system was to help cockneys
to speak middle-class English. That might be an over-simplification,
but certainly there's some validity to the fact that differential
status and class distinctions can be perpetuated if educational
authorities do not help to bring children into a common language.
Grammar, for example. I have to believe that grammar isn't working.
Now those questions were focusing on Black English or on the black
dialect or whatever term is most appropriate. Are you familiar with
something that may be equivalent or analogous to this among certain
Hispanics, and I'm speaking specifically of the Puerto Ricans? I used
to be able to understand a good deal of Spanish. I could understand--
I don't know whether they call it High Spanish or Castillian, modified
for this hemisphere, where the C is pronounced differently between
Spain and America. But vowels are dropped in the street language of
Puerto Ricans. I could hear a Puerto Rican broadcast in San Juan and
understand it all, and that same broadcaster, you go out on the street,
he's dropping vowels all over the place.
I guess they can, I think that's an educational matter, and one
the responsibilities of education, it would seem to me, would be to
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help