Sociolinguistic Justice in the Schools: Student Researchers as Linguistic Experts

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Abstract

The commitment of sociocultural linguistics to the cause of social justice has been central to the discipline since its foundation. This commitment is nowhere more evident than in the educational domain and particularly in the development of sociolinguistically informed curricula and teacher preparation programs. Such programs help ensure that students who speak politically subordinated linguistic varieties have the same opportunities in classrooms, college, and careers as their standard English-speaking peers. Informed by previous and current efforts to forge linguistic partnerships with communities, a set of potential goals for those who work toward sociolinguistic justice is proposed. The goals of sociolinguistic justice are then exemplified using a California-based research and academic outreach program that guides youth of diverse linguistic, ethnoracial, and economic backgrounds to carry out original sociocultural linguistic research in their peer groups, families, and local communities.

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