Anne Curzan “Says Who? Teaching and Questioning the Rules of Grammar”

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A few intriguing and divisive questions clearly stand out in “Says Who? Teaching and Challenging the Laws of Grammar by Anne Curzan. In a wider and more important perspective, the points put forth by Curzan are very exciting, in the sense that vocabulary and the field of linguistics as a whole continue to evolve, hence the relevance of the persistent issues of form and the proper usage of the language as a whole (Curzan 873). Most people will fall victim to the impact of “Standard English,” as Curzan describes it, most likely because of the essence of their upbringing or the way they were educated in childhood and the influences of their vicinity. Nevertheless, one would perhaps welcome a bipartisan view, which is the point Curzan drives at home to her audience, since she is a proponent of the argument that critical thinking is a familiar concept to many, and it is applied in all other disciplines except the segment of language (Curzan 871). Therefore, on a critical approach, Curzan creates a compromising platform which compels her audience to embrace and recognize that the art of language requires that the of understanding is taken in as an investment of thinking, as opposed to arbitrarily selecting principles of linguistics and upholding them religiously.

In fact, Curzan concentrates more on the concept of arguing that language is very distinct and opposed in various circumstances, which makes spoken English very different from what one would call Standard English. Though overtly explicit, it might be no surprise that not only persons that are learned could be an intimate understanding of that philosophical criterion Curzan makes (Curzan 876). Indeed, perhaps in more practical terms, the Curzan challenges her audience to realize that an experienced and educated scholar could not claim relevance in the language if they cannot fundamentally differentiate between language needed in conversation and that deemed suitable in the academic writing diction.

According to Curzan, the art of language in a written format lacks the power as a tool of communication, to relay a message with the similar gusto a face to face talk would do in a real-time conversation. For instance, literary elements of attitude, tone, body language, and facial expressions would most probably be lacking, when one chooses to communicate in writing (Curzan 877). Nevertheless, apparently the point hitherto does not compel Curzan to deliberate otherwise in her work, instead, she insists that the application of standard English, with proper punctuation and a correct choice of words, and in a language that both the author and the reader understood; communication will always be practical despite the absence of face to face exchanges. In essence, it could be true that English that seems to be more colloquial could be no better or worse than standard language. Nevertheless, Curzan should never be misunderstood on this, because she makes a critical point on a light mention, that it remains to be an indispensable idea that people should understand and get used to both the standard and their traditional English, in order to enjoy all environment of communication, including that outside of their remote regions.

In conclusion, therefore, Curzan is in pursuit of change in approach and attitude toward language by both the educators and the students. Her arguments seek to champion the understanding that, because language is evolving and environment shapes people different in terms of linguistics; there is need for teachers to carry out more and hence establish their lessons on evidence-based and realistic analysis of language, whereas students should endeavor to question the standard of language, other than technically maneuvering to adopt to the rule of grammar and communication (Curzan 879). Consequently, just like other subjects, for instance, mathematics, English too must have rules and regulations of different forms of writing, to competent nature minds in linguistics, and never divulge the meaning of writing and conversation when it comes to the communication under whatever setting.

Vershawn Ashanti Young “Momma`s Memories and the New Equality

In the journal “Momma’s Memories and the New Equality” by one Vershawn Ashanti and young entitled, the narrator outlines in a chronicled manner, the pieces of advice his mother gave him regarding his race and type of job he should pursue. Furthermore, Young explains the reasons the mother gave him for the choices he has to make in life. Indeed, in a detailed approach and based on reason, Young is right when he asserts that both “microaggression” and “new racism” are apparently the metaphorical means through which the vice of racial discrimination manifests (Young 3). On the contrary, many people in the society do not recognize that they are racist or making such comments which might be offensive. As such, the author through the voice of the narrator speaks to his audience that whether perpetrated advertently or inadvertently, racism is real and it affects the emotional, psychological, and the physiological stability of those who fall victim. For instance, a racist expression would be a misunderstanding that both being Latino and Hispanic is one thing, or rather, that all Mexicans are Hispanics. While the recipient of such reference could feel angered and betrayed, they that speak unknowingly never seem to realize or care, even over time. On the contrary, perhaps it would be more diminishing for white individuals to automatically anticipate that people of color would behave precisely in the manner their counterparts do or even act in line with the dress code they could be putting on. Through the person of Young, the reader is treated to the exclusive benefits of diversity and the need to embracing our differences no matter how, where, and whenever we converge.

Young could be described as a very cautious individual, who is hypersensitive to anything related to racism. For example, he reminds his mother that she “comes from… the Jim-Crow South” and is still very conscious of socializing or interacting with a white member of society because that is what has been instilled in her” (Young 4). Because of the lack of awareness among many people, racism has escalated into a social issue that needs guidance and counselling, or better still call for creating awareness, especially for the cases Young terms, “mostly unintended ‘racial slights and insults’ (Young 5).In fact, Young cited two scenarios where unintended racism occurred, and one of them is Shayla’s Blues, where the young girl is asked by her peers “why she’s so black, why her butt is so plump” (Young 6). Unfortunately, the approach by teachers is poor and does not help solve the issue. Even Young`s mother misbelieves that if racism is ignored, it will fade away typically. The second slur happens in the Obama Non-Negro dialect, which the former president notes that Had Reid “recognized that the new racism is an unfortunate phenomenon that no white person can avoid”, then he would have avoided the bad experience. In essence, the article by Young is an advocacy for the society to join him make campaigns for equity in diverse communities to counter racial discrimination.

Works Cited

Curzan, Anne. “Says Who ? Teaching and Questioning the Rules of Grammar.” 4.1 (2009): PP. 870–879.

Young, Vershawn Ashanti. “Momma’s Memories and the New Equality.” Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society 2010: PP. 1–6.

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