Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

ERIC Document


ED 443 128




This paper examines the controversy surrounding the use of Ebonics among African American students in schools in the United States, with a twofold purpose: (1) to focus on the primary function of language as a tool of communication that varies in its use according to the social context; and (2) to provide suggestions to teachers of ways to support students' acquisition of standard English without devaluing the nonstandard variants they may have learned in their homes and communities. The discussion is highlighted in the paper with classroom stories, anecdotes, and vignettes. The paper contains the following sections: Introduction; The Ebonics Controversy; Black English: A Dangerous Label; Focus on Function, Not Form; Strategies for Teaching "Conventional" English; A Balanced View of Language; and Useful Links on the Subject of English Variants. Contains 12 references.

Original Publication Citation

Gupta, A. (1999). What's Up wif Ebonics, Y'all? Newark D. E.: International Reading Association. (ED 443 128)