December 18, 2003

Fieldwork Effle

In reading Mark's post about Effle, I immediately thought of a Salvadoran teenage boy I interviewed in my '94-'97 fieldwork among Latina/o youth in a high school in Northern California. I was investigating what some scholars (i.e. Guadalupe Valdes) call "linguistic resistance", that is to say identity-based resistance to language learning (in his case, he was a native speaker of African-American English but had been placed in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, clearly a case of his Spanish-speaking home background trumping his oral language skills). When I interviewed him and asked why he had failed to be promoted out of beginning ESL after three years of being in the class, he told me that he couldn't stand sitting around reading and listening to nothing but Effle-language, and would rather get kicked out of class. Ok, he didn't use the word "Effle" but he gave me something close to the definition on the Effle page.

Can you imagine being stuck for 8 hours a day in a classroom where people only spoke in Effle?

Posted by Norma Mendoza-Denton at December 18, 2003 11:27 AM