This week’s readings ranged quite a bit in their Focus; Elbow, with expected facility, placates the those in the academy whose views of SWE are more stringently confining while reasoning that that SWE, which is no one’s mother tongue, is malleable enough to absorb other Englishes. Elbow saliently advises on how to present SWE as the language of Prestige and power to students, particularly those whose mother tongue is at a further linguistic remove than that of the White middle to upper class speaking subject, suggesting that the authoritative voice (a la Bakhin) be made available to them to be put in use, if they so please, alongside/in conjunction/in Opposition with their mother tongue. I find it important to assert from the get go that SWE is the dominant language of Power and Prestige straight up, moreso for those more comfortable in SWE than those who are not, since the latter will already be well Aware of this reality. I believe making the fissure evident between the authoritative discourse and the internally persuasive discourse provides a powerful opportunity to empower students, and brings to mind the words of Poet/translator Murat Nemat Nejat, who in his Essay A Question of Accent, wrote: “What is, then, writing which has an accent? It is a writing which does not completely identify with the power, authority of the language it uses; but confronts, without glossing over, the gap between the user and the language. Such writing reveals an ambiguity towards power: the writer chooses to embrace a language (because of its pervasive centrality) which he/she knows is not quite his/her own, is insufficient for his/her inner purposes. Accent in writing has little to do with explicit theme or semantic context; it rather has to do with texture, structure, the scratches, distortions, painful gaps (in rhythms, syntax, diction, etc.) caused by the alien relationship between the writer and his/her adopted language. Accent is cracks (many unconscious, the way a speaker is unaware of his or her accent when speaking, does not have to create it ) on the transparent surface.”
Switching gears, I enjoyed reading Connors Mechanical Correctness as a Focus in Composition Instruction, and found the doing away with rhetoric in the academy fascinating. To me it seems that rhetoric, if anywhere seems a great place to start teaching grammar (if anywhere) since ipso facto the intended audience is named and claimed. Another reason why its a shame there is not a greater emphasis on language learning in the US. The only strict grammar per se that I have learned, came from learning other languages from the base up. In this sense, I find Elbow could be useful in asserting the inherent authority as language in every mother tongue and suggest studying the different internal mechanisms of These languages and what the exact structural differences are as a means of exploiting These cracks in the codified nom du pere.