In Chinese Fortune Cookie, written by LuMing Mao, the author presents the idea of the “alternative”. This is described as a divide between the dominant and subordinate language. This idea can help to explain the rift in communication between native English speakers and people that have learned English as a second language. There is a lot to learn from different ethnic rhetorics that can be seen as the “alternative”. As Mao sites from Gray-Rosendale and Gruber, “advance a critical counterpoint” to the tradition and they “expand the territory of what constitutes students and teachers perceptions of rhetoric and rhetorical texts.”. From this text one can learn about the complexities of communication and tradition. There is not one language more dominant than the other, rather a mix of different histories and rhetoric that all come together in order to communicate across cultural and ethnic borders.
In Voices of the Self, written by Keith Gilyard, he describes how bidialectism and code switching both work to meet different types of social demands. He explains how his mother could “speak to a grocer, a salesman, a doctor or a stranger in one manner(Standard), and then turn around and...exclaim ‘Now look what you done did!”(30). Here one can see the differences in communication based on the social situations. Gilyard’s mother uses Black English in order to get a favorable response from him and Standard English in order to get a favorable response from those who value Standard English. Although these two are categorized as two different things, it is important to note that they both influence each other and can only remain pure in rare, isolated situations.
In A Teaching Subject, written by Joseph Harris, there is a discussion between the different ways that English are taught. There is the American and British ways of teaching English. The British way focuses on the needs of the student while the American way values scholars of “legitimate English”. One could say that there is a difference in which teachers communicate with their students with these two different teaching methods. There is also an interesting point that is made when Harris brings up the “growth model”(1). This can be applied to how students grow up communicating with each other. This model suggests to focus on “the experiences of students and how these are shaped by their uses of language.”.
In Digital Griots, by Adam J. Banks, multimedia rhetoric is seen as a way of communication. In this case, it takes the form of a DJ being a master of multimedia rhetoric. The DJ mixes and remixes different parts of tradition and new culture in order to produce and communicate a message. The DJ becomes the modern storyteller or “griot” that exhibits rhetorical excellence in the African American community.
In What Writing Does and How It Does It: Chapter Five, it defines code-switching as “shifts in coding point to or index social identities, relationships, and contexts”(97). In order to communicate with one another, more than the context comes into play. Different codes are created within different histories, with different socio-cultural influences. This creates a very complex study of language and how people choose to talk to one another. Another key point that is made, is that codes are “a key marker of social identities”(100).
How do you think socio-economics play into different types of rhetoric? Would a poor white person have similar rhetoric to a poor Black person? Why or why not.
What are the implications of code-switching in an educational setting? How does it put students at an advantage or disadvantage?
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