The Language: California Universities Teaching American Slang to ESL Students Through Hip-Hop

The Language: California Universities Teaching American Slang to ESL Students Through Hip-HopImage via Kaplan International

Music is an effective form of communication, and its educational value continues to skyrocket. Stephen Mayeux (picture above), an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at the University of California, Davis, is using hip-hop to teach American slang to ESL students. Thus, "Straight Outta Compton" has bulldozed its way into a lesson plan. "They’re saying straight out of Compton," Mayeux explained. "But I think a lot of people, especially Americans, we pronounce it ‘outta.'" Eazy-E is smiling down from heaven.

UCLA student Zhang Jiuhua is taking a course at the university's Extension’s American Language Center, eager to learn more about colloquial language for social purposes. Zhang wants to sound less formal and more "American" when she speaks. "My conversation is more academic, or more like an essay," she says.

Mayeux has taken the initiative to the web, with his Hip-Hop as a Second Language course being offered at ESLhiphop.com. The notion of using slang to educate may seem awkwardif not downright wrongto some who assign a negative connotation to it while failing to acknowledge how frequently it's used. What people aren't acknowledging is how alienated ESL students already feel simply trying to learn words that are in the dictionary. Failure to communicateor worse, understand—is frustration that slang just adds another layer to.

This measure is all about bridging the gap. Give hip-hop some credit for helping to educate. 

[via Business Insider]

Stay Connected with
Complex City Guide
Tags: english-as-a-second-language, hip-hop, stephen-mayeaux
blog comments powered by Disqus