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ASSIGNMENT

So, living in a linguistically diverse environment has various implications.  In this assignment, you are asked to write an essay in which you express an opinion about the relationship between a majority language and minority languages.  You will analyze and evaluate one of the texts to assess whether it supports your opinion.  You will also utilize the information from the other six texts to enrich your discussion.
THEME

The Midterm is the assignment of this week.  It is based on the theme of Languages and Dialects, and will utilize the rhetoric of analysis and evaluation.  We live in an environment in which there is one dominant national language – English, and several minority languages both spoken and signed.  Government estimates indicate that over 250 languages exist in New York City, while the New School of Research suggests that at least 450 languages are spoken in New York City.  There are a plethora of newspapers in dozens of languages all over the city, several radio and television channels in multiple languages.  To accommodate this linguistic diversity, the New York Department of Education, for example, publishes material for families in at least ten languages.  It also provides instruction in several languages to school students.

Therefore a significant number of New Yorkers encounter a multiplicity of languages in their day to day lives.  This can pose a variety of communication experiences some of which are reflected in the readings provided.

Any discussion about language also involves the issue of dialects.  Dialects are generally versions of languages.  They may emerge as a result of geographical locations or through the interaction of languages.  Thus, American English has evolved to be a dialect of the English that originated in England, just like Spanish spoken in the Americas has some differences from Spanish spoken in Spain.  However, both American English and American Spanish retain the basic grammatical structure of both languages, so they can be recognized as the languages.  What makes them dialects is the difference in vocabulary and pronunciation.  Some of these differences may be caused by regional differences, some differences are due to interractions with other languages.

So, for instance, in America, English interacted with other European languages such as French, German, and Spanish, Native American languages such as Lenape, Cherooke, and Apache, African languages such as Yoruba, Wollof and Mandingo; Middle Eastern languages such as Arabic and Hebrew; and Asian languages such as Chinese, Urdu and Japanese, just to name a few.  The result is a lot of vocabulary from other languages such as banana Wolof; hamburger German; bonanza Spanish and fete French.  The word, Manhattan, is a Lenape word which means hilly wooded island.

In addition to vocabulary, language interaction contributes to dialects.  In their conjugations, some languages have different second persons for social distance.  For example Spanish has tu for someone you are close to like a relative or a friend, and usted, for a stranger or boss; and then for the plural, have ustedes. IbEnglish uses the same word, you in all cases.  So, when languages like Spanish, French, Italian, ibo or Yoruba encounter English, they introduce a plural form such as you all / yall or youse forms that are common in the African American Dialect of English (AAE) and some European American dialects that can be found in the South and North East as well.  Thus many dialects are based on the mutual modification of languages. Language interactions may start as a loose coupling such as Spanglish, or Inglibo. In which bits and pieces of the languages are used to complement each other, and, may over time evolve into a separate new language such as the Jamaican Patois; the Haitian Creole; the West African Pidgeon or Garifuna a fusion of African, Arawak and European languages.

Some languages have different world views.  Spanish and French are based on gender, while English has the concept of neuter.  Yoruba pronouns are gender neutral while age difference is built in.  So, a table is considered female in Spanish and French but a neutered object in English.  In Yoruba, the same pronoun is used for male and female, but changes to the plural when used for an older person.  All of these nuances play their roles when languages interact with each other to produce dialects.

Even though dialects may have evolved through interaction, they have also acquired the status of who uses them.  Thus if a group has power, its dialect becomes dominant.  Thus Standard English is basically the dialect of the dominant powerful societal group.  So, while it is important to master and write in Standard English, this does not mean that other dialects are linguistically inferior.  That is why it is important to understand how dialects emerge and evolve.
SUMMARY

A good analytical summary of a text must identify the thesis and main arguments of the text.
It must also identify the evidence that the writer provides to support the thesis.
In order to carry out an evaluation you must examine the evidence.
Is it convincing or not?
What are the reasons for your opinion?
Discuss your reaction to this statement utilizing evidence from your experiences and all of the resource texts above as follows:  .

You will identify an aspect of the issues that Noah raises to be the topic that you will discuss.
You will develop an opinion about the topic
You will choose one of the writers Baldwin, Barrientos, Jimenez, Lee, Marquez  and Tan whose text you will use as a basis for your discussion
You will analyze and evaluate the text to assess the extent it supports your thesis .
You will also utilize evidence from the other texts to enrich your discussion. In other words, Use at least one quote or reference from all of them to help you write your essay.
Your essay should be at least 1000 words or four double spaced typed pages.
You will use MLA in-text citations to document every reference, paraphrase, summary or quotation .
You will have a separated page after your essay that you will title Works Cited.”
Since there are seven readings that you should use for your essay, there should be seven entries in the Works Cited page.
All pages MUST be numbered.
All papers should have a proper heading that contains your name; the course name and number; the section number; the instructors name and the name of the assignment.
All pages should have a header or footer with your name on it.
Remember, to observe essay structure with a strong introduction that explains what you will do in your essay; a body that analyzes and evaluates one of the texts and elaborates with evidence from the other texts;  and a clear conclusion that summarizes your main points and reviews what you will do in your essay
Remember to analyze, you:
Identify the writers thesis
Identify the reasons  for the thesis and / or the evidence the writer provides for the thesis
Remember to evaluate by:
Examining the evidence
Assessing the evidence
Giving reasons for your assessment
Read:

If Black English Isnt a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? by James Baldwin
Why and When We Speak Spanish in Public, by Myriam  Marquez
Se Habla Espaol, by Tanya Barrientos
Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan
Mute in an English-Only World, by Chang Rae Lee.
“Spanglish: The Language of Chicanos, by Rosa Mara Jimnez
Add Oil!  The Evolution of Hong Kong English and Where Our Unique Words Come From, by Daniel Bland.

( these 7 articles need to be cited)


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