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Voices of the Self

A Study of Language Competence

Keith Gilyard

African American Studies, Autobiography, Education, Language and Literature, Linguistics and Rhetoric, Race and Ethnicity

African American Life Series

Paperback
Published: July 1991
ISBN: 9780814322253
Pages: 184 Size: 6x9
eBOOK
Published: July 1991
ISBN: 9780814339114
Review

Original and creative in structure, Gilyard's book explains analytically how urban blacks use language and learn dialects other than the Black English that characterizes their early speech pattern…The book delivers brilliantly…a classic that should appeal to parents, students of sociolinguistics and education, and those interested in the language challenges that face ghetto youth.

— Choice

A unique blend of memoir and scholarship, Keith Gilyard's Voices of the Self is a penetrating analysis of the linguistic and cultural "collision" experienced by African-American students in the public education system. Gilyard examines black students "negotiate" their way through school and discusses the tension between the use of Black English and Standard English, underlining how that tension is representative of the deeper conflict that exists between black culture and white expectations. Vivid descriptions—often humorous, sometimes disturbing, always moving—of Gilyard's own childhood experiences in school and society are interlaced with chapters of solid sociolinguistic scholarship.
Encompassing the perspectives of both the "street" and the "academy," Voices of the Self presents an eloquent argument for cultural and linguistic pluralism in American public schools.

Keith Gilyard is a Professor of Writing and English and Director of the Writing Program at Syracuse University. He received his M.F.A. from Columbia University and his Ed.D. from New York University.

Original and creative in structure, Gilyard's book explains analytically how urban blacks use language and learn dialects other than the Black English that characterizes their early speech pattern . . The book delivers brilliantly . . . a classic that should appeal to parents, students of sociolinguistics and education, and those interested in the language challenges that face ghetto youth.

– Choice