Papers Available Online

How Linguists Approach the Study of Language and Dialect

    This paper explains some of the assumptions linguists share in studying human language, and some of the concepts and methods we use in studying variation in languages and dialects, whether these are regional (e.g. between California and New York) in nature or social (e.g. between different social classes or ethnic groups or genders). This is the first required reading for Linguistics 73 "African and African American Vernacular English" at Stanford.

The Ebonics controversy in my backyard: A sociolinguist's experiences and reflections

    This paper, which will be published in Journal of Sociolinguisics in 1998 or 1999, is part of a collection of essays on the theme, "What do sociolinguists have to say about the Great Language Debates of Our Times?" compiled and edited by Monica Heller. Three of the papers in this collection (including mine) were first presented at the 1997 conference on New Ways of Analysis Variation, held in Quebec, Canada.

Using the Vernacular to Teach the Standard

    This is a revised version (March 25, 1998) of remarks delivered at the California State University Long Beach [CSULB] Conference on Ebonics held on March 29, 1997, and will appear in the proceedings (ed. by Gerda DeKlerk), to be published by CSULB in 1998

Suite for Ebony and Phonics

    This commentary was written for the December, 1997 issue of Discover magazine. It differs slightly from the published version, reflecting editor's changes.

The Creole Origins of AAVE: Evidence from copula absence

    This paper was published in African American English ed. by Salikoko S. Mufwene, John R. Rickford, Guy Bailey and John Baugh. London: Routledge, 1998.

Dialect Readers Revisited

    Written in collaboration with my wife, Angela, and published in 1995, this paper examines the use of dialect readers written in African American Vernacular English [AAVE--the term linguists use more often for what most people are now referring to as Ebonics] to improve the reading abilities of African American children in the inner cities.