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Reflective Essay

Dialect is defined as a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social
group. It is a more individualized, specific form of language and very telling of a person. Through a
persons dialect you can are given insight into their upbringing and culture and also their current
circumstances. Given that dialect is so specifically unique to an individual it can be harmful when
theyre incapable of speaking in any other manner. Code switching is known as the ability to
alternate between two or more languages, or dialects, in a conversation. If an individuals dialect is
not considered the standard, it is an essential tool.
Standard English is the form of language conventionally accepted as the proper manner of speech, it
also includes spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. When you begin to question who
defines a certain dialect as standard, you begin to get into a matter of socioeconomic and racial
politics. Those with the highest ranking in society get to set societal rules and standards. Anything
not in line with those standards are seen as lower class, which is where socioeconomic status and
language intertwine.
In a country like America where race and class are so tightly interwoven, where white people set the
standard, and make up the majority of the upper class, predominately black communities are seen as
the slums or ghettos of the country. Their cultures, habits, and routines are looked down upon and
ridiculed. In these communities the people create their own way of speaking influence by their own
personal backgrounds and day to day struggles. This dialect is known as AAVE, African American
Vernacular English. Due to blacks in America being an underclass, inability to code switch to
standard English can be detrimental.

I, like most black millennials raised in the early 21st Century, do use an amount of African American
vernacular. In many, if not most social settings, it is the most natural and comfortable type of
communication. Still, in the wider world that we live in, I am also quite secure in my command of
Standard American English. In professional venues, like work, and more formal settings among the
larger general public, standard English provides a common tie and provides the ability to
communicate easily with others of various racial, social, and historical backgrounds.

The choice of which of these two modes of communication is generally based on the individual of
group I am interacting with. Family, close friends and others with whom I share bonds of emotion
and history are those that more naturally I can speak with an African American vernacular. Newly
introduced, professional, and or persons from other ethnic backgrounds are normally easier to speak
to using the generally English vernacular. Familiarity by relations (both blood and social) allows
for the easiest use of African American speech modes. Ties of shared backgrounds, experience, and

histories allow for a more informal, free flowing exchange and provide the basis for greater use of
African American vernacular in those informal and familiar situations. In the case of either
professional contacts or those without such common social and historical bonds, the use of standard
English is likely more appropriate, at least earlier in any relationship of this type.

I am quite comfortable in either speaking or writing in standard English. As it is the common


pattern used throughout our country and its use is so ingrained in our social and commercial
interactions both within the country and in some instances, worldwide. I believe that as the greater
society continues to evolve, speech, like music and art; have become fewer barriers and more bridge
between various groups within our country. Still the use of vernaculars such as African American
English or standard English at inappropriate times or places can point out social, class and or
racial statues.

Code switching occurs when a speaker shifts back and forth between two or more languages, or
language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Persons who are Multilinguals, speakers
of more than one language, sometimes use elements of multiple languages when carrying out a
conversation. In the case of a person who only uses one language, such swopping also occurs when
using differ varieties or dialects of a single language such as English. I believe that the verbal and
written communication skills I have mastered during my like serve me well in numerous situations
to include personal and professional settings.

I believe that the relationship between language and literacy and professional opportunities is that
the use and command of the appropriate vernacular can bring about the desired understanding,
empathy and trust required for an employer to gauge the quality and desirability of a candidate. The
one thing which will always assist in the improvement of language and literary skills is practice.
Reading, writing and carrying on discussions in a constant and deliberate manner will likely
improve anyones skills of