"True to the Language Game"
"True to the Language Game"
In Gilyard’s terms, “true to the game” means “principled adherence to a clearly specifiable and often complex set of practices. Commitment to excellence relative to particular structures and codes.”
H_Y_P_E_ FOR GILYARD’S “GAME” :
1. Class Reading: Tragedy & Jubilee (handout)
In the last section of the book, Gilyard discusses African American language “beyond discourse” (e.g., call and response, testifyin, etc.) and “beyond AAVE” (e.g., the linguistic specifics). As one example, he discusses the practice of Jubilee / Tragedy in oration – which can work both ways (Jubilee then Tragedy, Tragedy then Jubilee).
Gonna use that model to hype -
2. Clip(s) from HIGHER LEARNING
(John Simpleton, 1995)
4. Timeline & Bibliography
from Gilyard and others: acknowledgements to come
“Context shapes language, but language also shapes context”
“Reading and writing join hands, change places, and finally become distinguishable only as two names for the same activity”
“The variety of English one speaks cannot alone account for much in terms of explaining school failure or success”
“Writing is to be seen as a tremendous aid to formal learning (thinking); thus, much writing should be required of students.”
“All languages I know of are rule governed and fully conceptual”
“You can be sure, for the most part, that if you reject their tongue, they will reject yours.”
“Get students to see that they can act powerfully on stories, that stories don’t just act on them”
“Language is a dialect with an army and a navy"
KEITH GILYARD (born 1952, NYC) a Distinguished Professor of English at Penn State, and an eminent scholar in African American Studies.
As revealed by the essays in this book – or “reader” – of his work, Gilyard’s “game” lies at the intersection of his many areas of expertise: African American Vernacular English, rhetoric and composition, literature and literary theory, sociolinguistics, pedagogy, and poetry (which he also writes). They always intersect for him, since they all revolve around language.
Gilyard’s been in almost every NYC higher education system – BS from City University, MFA from Columbia, and PhD in Education from NYU. His early teaching career was at CUNY: started at LaGuardia Community College in 1980, then taught at Medgar Evers from 1981-1993, where he helped start the National Black Writers Conference. From 1995-1999 he directed the writing program at Syracuse University, then joined faculty at Penn State.
He served as the chair of CCCC in 2000, and president of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in 2011. His book Voices of the Self: A Study of Language Competence (1992) – a section of which appears in “Game” – won the American Book Award. But like Richardson, Gilyard had to come up between the school & the streets.
3. Your Choice :
Basic Outline of Book, in Parts :
( * = essays I especially enjoyed - h-y-p-e )
PART I – LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLES
- Series of Personal Experience Essays – from “hoods and schools” – undergrad thru grad
- How personal experience shaped his understanding of language, literacy, and pedagogy
- Interrogates: The Ebonics controversy
- Three “Linguistic Principles” :
Descriptive Linguistics (Af Am lang on its own terms) +
Psycholinguistics (how language tells us about the person using it) +
Sociolinguistics (i.e., The “social situation” of language)
* ONE MORE TIME FOR PROFESSOR NURRUDIN – Studies AC (Atlantic Creole, Caribbean and African descent language) as rule-governed system, with student examples
PART II – LANGUAGE, RACE, and RIGHTS
- African American contributions to comp studies: shows as most impt thinkers in the field
- Relationship between race and comp studies, uses the film Higher Learning
- Race as a “construct” and the implications of “deconstructing” race
- Defining African American community, and how definition can be too narrow / too wide
- Interrogates: the “Code-switching” Paradigm – based on case-studies – problematizes it
* AN EXTENDED VIEW OF “STUDENT’S RIGHT” – Looks at the CCCC resolution from different angles; concludes its an impt doc whose implications remain to be seen
PART III – DIVERSITY, DEMOCRACY, AND TEACHING
- Teaching and learning practices that are Democratic (good) vs. Authoritarian (bad)
- Connects theory and practice
- Discusses classroom sessions re: language empowerment & importance of writing voice
* I HAVE FUN PLAYING WITH LANGUAGE – An interview with Gilyard that offers more conversational and personal advice on rhetorical and pedagogical practices, esp. on the connection between creative and academic writing
PART IV – RHETORIC, POETICS, and POLITICS
- Discusses Black English beyond specific terms of AAVE
- e.g. Nommo : “the magic power of the word” that gives man mastery over things
- Coins the term “Genopsycholinguisticide”
- Analyzes African American novels and jazz-inspired poetry, esp re: Black Arts Movement
- Compares MLK and Obama: not one-to-one, but re: race, class, and identity
* ASPECTS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN RHETORIC AS A FIELD - Discusses African American language and rhetoric beyond the specific terms and definitions of AAVE or discourse
QUOTES CONTINUED :
“Language alone is not powerful enough to reject, fail, and exclude African Americans. Nor will language alone empower them.”
“A curriculum will be successful to the extent to which students subscribe to it.”
“If the culture of the teacher is to become part of the consciousness of the child, then the culture of the child must first be in the consciousness of the teacher.”
“To shout with urgency that students don’t know science is to argue for science education, to claim that students are illiterate is to argue that they are unfit for college” (fox)
“It is not the deep structure of the code, it is the deep structure of the switch” (2005)