KET Legislative Coverage

Dr. Vay on 'Other People's English'

by Editor | 02/10/14 5:08 AM

University of Kentucky professor Vershawn A. Young-also known as Dr. Vay-talks about Other People’s English on Connections with Renee Shaw. The book, authored by Young, Rusty Barrett, Y’Shanda Young-Rivera, and Kim Brian Lovejoy, makes the case for “code-meshing,” allowing students to use standard English, African American English, and other Englishes in formal academic writing and classroom discussions.

“The thing that we’ve been advocating with teachers is they should teach effective rhetoric instead of a narrow version of standard English,” he said. Young is an associate professor of African American Studies, English and Performance Studies at UK.

“Code switching,” for example, the use of standard English by African Americans when they are outside the African American community, “is segregationist,” Young said. “To say that African Americans can use African American English with their friends and families outside of professional and school contexts is promoting a segregationist attitude towards black English. It’s saying that it’s not appropriate in settings that have been exclusively run and populated by whites-school and the business world.”

Watch Connections with Renee Shaw