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The Ebonics Debate On December 18th 1996 the Oakland Unified School District adopted Ebonics a terms which is a combination of the words ebony and phonics used to describe the African-American vernacular as a language Since then it seems wether on talk shows newspaper editorials or television news everyone wants to offer their opinion This paper will examine two very different points of view and decide which arguments proves to be stronger In Charles J Fillmores article AA Linguist Looks at the Ebonics Debate the enthymeme states this resolution is necessary in Abuilding on the language the children have to help them acquire the language they need to learn in school2 He states that most people are misinformed about the intentions of the school district as well as the problem at hand In Chuck Sambars article AEbonics a contrasting view is offered The enthymeme of the article is as follows AThe decision of the Oakland School District to put itself on the map of educational nonsense has been fast broad based and unrelenting1 He argues that everyones time and money could be much better spent on more important issues in todays school system The following three paragraphs will examine the ethos pathos and logos elements of the two debates I will then examine the two articles using Toulmins scheme to decide which arguments is most sound by examining the claims grounds backing warrant and then the qualifier of each article Before examining the two articles in question it is necessary to establish whether the two authors have the credibility needed to write the articles Charles Fillmore being a professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley a master in the field of linguistics and language holds a unique position to offer his views of the situation Chuck Sambar a newspaper columnist may have the ability to capture a reader in emotional appeal and sensationalistic headlines he is hardly in a
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