Do You Speak American? By Robert Macneil Essay

1252 Words Mar 26th, 2016 null Page
Popular recording artist, Rihanna, recently dropped a new single titled “Work.” In the song, she incorporates many words from a dialect called Jamaican Patois, an example being her singing “you said me haffi work.” People rushed to Social Media to complain that the song was annoying because she was speaking gibberish, not knowing that “haffi” is an actual word in a different culture. In the article “Do You Speak American?” by Robert MacNeil a similar issue is brought forward to a broad audience of educated, middle-class people. The audience can be derived from a 2007 USA Today report that stated that 71% of readers attended some college with most of them being middle-class people. In that 71%, 43% obtained a Bachelor’s degree or more. MacNeil aims to inform the audience that dialects are not destroying the English language, but that they are an effective form of communication. He adequately does this through appeal to expert opinions, his word choices, and illustrations.
MacNeil often goes to expert opinion to justify his points. To defend a point about why African American language or Ebonics is not ruining the English language, MacNeil says, “to linguists, the fault lies not in a particular dialect, but in what attitudes others bring towards it.” MacNeil also notes that “in the linguistic community, black English is recognized as having its own internal consistencies and grammatical forms” (310). These quotes show the ineffectiveness of the rhetorical device to certain…

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