John Rickford is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University, where he studies the relationship between language and social structure.
In his talk, Justice for Jeantel (and Trayvon): Fighting Dialect Prejudice in Courtrooms and Beyond, he delves into vernacular English – the ordinary, common, day-to-day language used in English speaking countries. He argues for how differences in language lead to distrust and disregard among communities. Rickford concludes by offering solutions to help bridge linguistic gaps across cultures.
He is the author of several books on language and culture, including: “African American, Creole and Other Vernacular Englishes: A Bibliographic Resource.”
This talk was recorded on February 17th, 2017 at UMass Amherst. Special thanks to the UMass Department of Linguistics and UMass Amherst Information Technology.
Disclaimer – Given the nature of Rickford’s talk, there is occasional use of the n-word.