Wednesday, January 04, 2012


I wrote a lot more about class and language, and then decided I was taking Barbara Jensen's ideas in directions she had not intended.

So I will wait for her book, which comes out this July, and read it.

In the meantime, I deleted a couple of posts as being bullshit.


I had to add back part of what I cut, because the uncut version of my post on Barb appeared in The Twin Cities Daily Planet. I have to stand behind what I've said in public.

I continue to think about Barbara's essay and think of the ways different kinds of people use language. She is contrasting blue collar workers with professional intellectuals. These are two extremes, I think. Because class structure is complex, and many people have experiences with more than one class, there are all kinds of gradations in between.

I'm thinking of office workers from blue collar backgrounds, who have to deal with middle class bosses and customers, but also have to deal with their families. I was amazed by how easily my co-workers in Detroit moved between standard English and an African American dialect. I felt they were bilingual, while I knew only one language well.


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