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Overview Articles Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

Labov, Watson, Hulsen et al

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Academic Ignorance and Black Intell­igence (Labov)

• Bereiter’s deficit theory centers on the notion of “verbal depriv­ation”
• Black children from the ghetto receive little verbal stimul­ation, and hear few well-f­ormed sentences
• Black families lack proper mother­-child intera­ction
→ impove­rished verbal expression (2)
• Cannot form concepts to convey logical thought
• They speak in “single words” and a ‘series of badly connected words and phrases” (4)

Dangers of the deficit theory:
• “It diverts the attention from the real defects of our educat­ional system to imaginary defects of the child” (p. 3)
• It confirms prejudiced teachers in their low opinion of black working class children (p. 18)
• “Class and ethnic differ­ences in gramma­tical form are equated with differ­ences in the capacity for logical analysis” (p. 17)
• It gives rise to ill-fo­unded remedial programs, which start from the premise that the children have no language at all (p. 4)
• These programs then teach the children to mimic middle class speech, which is seen as a way to make them think logically (p. 17)
• It leads to the hypothesis of the genetic inferi­ority of black children (p. 3)

Labov attack on Bereiter:
• He shows that the monosy­llabic behaviour that Bereiter takes to be a child’s complete linguistic competence is a reaction to a threat­ening enviro­nment
• He shows how well speakers of Ebonics can handle complex arguments in their own vernacular
• He shows that Bereiter “confuses logic with explic­itness” (p. 15) and is ignorant of the gramma­tical rules of Ebonics (deletion of copula, as in “They mine”) (16)
• He shows Bereiter is ignorant of the rules of discourse (16), which allow for deletion of subject and verb in answer to questions like “Where is the squirrel”! “in the tree”
• Bernstein vs elaborated code dismissed, AAVE can make complex constr­uctions also

"The child is in an asymme­trical situation where anything he says can, figura­tively, be held against him. He has learned a number of devices to avoid saying anything in this situation, and he works very hard to achieve this end."

Research Questions Labov/­Ber­eiter

All: Why do children in inner-city school show such low educat­ional achiev­ement?
Is it caused by hereditary factors (i.e. genetic deficit, low IQ) (Psych­olo­gists etc.)
Is it caused by enviro­nmental factors? If so, which? (Socio­logists etc.)
Is it caused by a disconnect between language and culture in schools and language and culture at home? (Lingu­ists)

Deficit theory of verbal depriv­ation: black children from the ghetto are said to receive little verbal stimul­ation, to hear very little well-f­ormed language, and as a result are impove­rished in their means of verbal expres­sion. (2) According to Bereiter, they have no language at all. (4)

The data that the studies are based on have not been obtained in ways
that make sense. The questions about how children relate to their parents are culturally biased. The social circum­stances of the interviews lead children to be uncomm­uni­cative. A different set-up leads the same children to display verbal virtuosity

Between two worlds (Hulsen et al)

Social networks, language shift, and language processing in three genera­tions of Dutch migrants in New Zealand

The three network dimensions that the authors take into consid­eration in determ­ining a speaker’s social network:
1. Relational charac­ter­istics
• Nature (kin, neighbor, friend, colleague)
• Form of support (emoti­onal, instru­mental, inform­ati­onal)
• Intensity (= importance to the speaker) of contact (primary = most important contacts; non-pr­imary= less vital)
2. Structural proper­ties:
• Size of total network
• Size of primary and non-pr­imary networks
• Density and multip­lexity of the network
3. Location in space and time:
• Proximity
• Frequency of contact

Other factors:
• L1/L2 ratio in primary and nonprimary networks in home country and New Zealand
• Number of L1 / L2 speakers in primary and nonprimary networks
• Number of L1 contacts in home country and New Zealand

A sociol­ing­uistic questi­onnaire to determine relevant non- linguistic factors (age, education, etc) and langua­ge-­related factors (language use between genera­tions, in different domains, attitude to L1 mainte­nance).
• A social­-ne­twork questi­onn­aire: List of people (with country of origin and language) who were important to them in different domains of their life (family, friends, collea­gues, school­mates, organi­sat­ions)
• Multip­lexity: needed for emotional and or practical and or inform­ational support)

“the second part of the questi­onnaire invest­igated the multip­lexity of the contacts by asking informants to indicate in which type of situation contact with network members was establ­ished or needed, for example, emotional, practical and/or inform­ati­onal”

‘I’m not west. I’m not east. So how leh?’

Ho: Identity in flux: a Singlish speaker’s dilemma.


Phonol­ogical resistance and innovation in the North-West of England.

The social strati­fic­ation of /r/ in NYC (Labov)


NZ hypotheses etc

“... the following hypotheses will be tested with respect to the relati­onship between language mainte­nance and shift, social networks, and language proces­sing:
The relative number of L1 contacts in the social networks is positively related to (a) language use and the importance attached to language mainte­nance, and (b) language profic­iency in the experi­mental tasks (i.e. fewer mistakes and faster reactions in the pictur­e-n­aming tasks)
The presence of L1 contacts in the nonprimary network is a better indicator of L1 use, L1 mainte­nance attitudes, and L1 profic­iency than the presence of L1 contacts in the primary network (cf. Stoessel 1998).
Informants with more “home-­net­work” contacts in the Nether­lands use the L1 more often, attach more importance to language mainte­nance, and show a higher level of L1 profic­iency in the experi­mental task.”

They have proven three and falsified one, so on the whole, yes, but
On p. 38 they mention that the questi­onnaire was proble­matic, because it took so long to complete. As a result, they had to leave the questi­onn­aires behind, and not all questi­onaires were returned or fully completed. That would have a negative impact on the reliab­ility of the data.
On p. 40 it becomes clear that the pictur­e-n­aming experiment was not doable for the third generation (they do not have enough Dutch), so they cannot compare their abilities with those of the other two genera­tions