Or maybe there is a third categorization I should use, such as "linguistic inclusivist"?

I believe that hypercorrections like "This is a secret between you and I" and "Whom is he?" are incorrect insofar as the speaker considers himself to be speaking in a formal, non-slang context.

However, I do believe that African American Vernacular English is a culturally legitimate form of English, so I disagree with extreme prescriptivists who want to quash out the dialect.

Does this make me a moderate prescriptivist? Or a hard descriptivist? Or something else?

  • This question is kind of all over the map. Are you asking about the definition of dialect, the definition of AAVE, or the definition of prescriptivist? At any rate, even the Wikipedia article on AAVE says that it is a dialect right in its very first sentence. What else could it possibly be? – RegDwigнt Aug 22 '14 at 22:09
  • @Reg "What else could it possibly be?": if you asked Dr. Strunk, for example? "Wrong.". The (OP's) question is, if you don't say "wrong*, are you necessarily a descriptivist? – Dan Bron Aug 22 '14 at 22:14
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    It is incorrect. It should be, "He be chillin'." – Jim Aug 22 '14 at 22:36
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    No, I don't think that AAVE is a culturally legitimate form of English. But I don't think that any other dialect is either. Dialects ARE. They don't require any form of approbation by some self-appointed cultural czar. – Oldcat Aug 22 '14 at 23:19
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    @DanBron: S&W wrote a style-guide to help students hone their writing. S&W did not set out to document the various dialects of English. – prash Aug 23 '14 at 4:14