By Viv Edwards
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Additional info for Language in a Black Community
Later, it was argued that one of the consequences for black children of living in a racist society is a lowered self-esteem, and early formulations of "multicultural education" were based on the assumption that children would view themselves more positively and perform better academically if the school acknowledged and respected minority languages and cultures. The notion of negative self-concept has been strongly challenged both in the black community and in the research literature (see, for example, Stone, 1981; Milner, 1983) and there has been a corresponding shift in the discussion of this area from ''multicultural education" to "anti-racist teaching".
There are also important methodological weaknesses in many of the existing studies. Sample sizes are sometimes too small for the researcher to make interesting and valid generalizations; situational constraints are often overlooked; findings are sometimes confused by treating British and Caribbean born children as a homogeneous group. If we are to arrive at a clearer picture of black language in Britain, the most obvious and pressing need is for a sociolinguistic study which describes patterns of language use and seeks to relate these patterns to the social processes which give rise to them.
Interference was an important theme in linguistics during this period. Weinreich (1968) produced the first extensive discussion on this area, defining interference as "those instances of deviations from the norms of either language which occur in the speech of bilinguals as a result of their unfamiliarity with more than one language". In the early days of immigration educationalists assumed that West Indian children would rapidly assimilate the language of their British peers. As it became apparent that the language of many West Indian children remained quite distinct from local white usage, the theory of linguistic interference offered a useful mechanism for investigating the extent and degree of this difference.