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Ax or Ask? The African American Guide to Better English Paperback – June 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: McClendonReport.com (June 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963932926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963932921
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Your book would have been complete with just 'Ax or Ask'. Kurt Vonnegut -- MCR Newsletter 1995

About the Author

Garrard McClendon is a writer, professor, and talk show host. He wrote Ax or Ask? : The African American Guide to Better English to help Blacks with school achievement, standardized testing, and to destroy educational, occupational, and economic exploitation. He holds degrees from Wabash College and Valparaiso University. Currently, he is completing his Ph.D. at Loyola University, while working on a documentary about cultural behaviors. Garrard@McClendonReport.com

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Loose Leaves Book Review on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
There is a time and place for everything, even proper English versus slang or dialect. In Garrard McClendon's educational, but humorous book, Ax or Ask? The African American Guide to Better English, I found myself howling with laughter at times. Yet, in hindsight, I'm sure that wasn't the proper reaction. It's a fact, the current generation speak in a strange combination of English, slang, and street terms

Not only did Mr. McClendon provide statistics and suggestions on how teachers could help their students, he also provides a glossary of forbidden words, definitions, phrases, and pronunctiations. Though it isn't funny, but quite the opposite, I could picture a comedian using some of the lines in this book, such as "Drowned - drowned is not pronounced with the extra "did" on the end: drowned (drown'd), not drown-did." Other misused words are noted as well as grammatical problems such as subject/verb agreement and double negatives. 

I'm glad to know this book is being taught in different school systems and commend Mr. McClendon for his efforts on educating African-Americans on the need to improve their literary skills, to include: reading, writing, and speaking. With our kids' test scores and the lack of committed teachers, a book of this nature could very well bridge the gap between speaking right versus speaking wrong, arming them for better educations, jobs, and lifestyles. It is a must read!

Reviewed by Mz. Melody for Loose Leaves Book Review
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a retired ENGLISH teacher, I have seen many of the abuses of the English language that author McClendon writes about in his book. These errors, as well as others, have so long been a part of the everyday conversation among African-Americans that it is quite a challenge to "correct" them, especially now when so many classrooms allow "creative language" because they don't want to "stifle" students' originality.

Well, contrary to the philosophy, I was one of those teachers, like McClendon, that always had my little "red pen" and would remind students when they said or wrote the wrong thing.

McClendon's book is a well-written composition, divided into informative chapters. One of these, "The Glossary of Forbidden Words, Definitions, Phrases, and Pronunciations", not only lists common errors but has humorous asides that have relevance to the unique African-American culture. The book also delves in the historical aspect of Black English and takes a look at the use of language in the hip hop world.

It is a starter, a good reference that can be used by teachers, church leaders, and social organizations to help members of their respective classrooms, congregations, and communities become more fluent in American English, a priority that is necessary for success in the workplace and society.

Chapter titles:

1) Children Left Behind
2) A Time and a Place for Black English
3) Forbidden Words, Phrases, Definitions, and Pronunciations
4) The Origin of Black English Dialect
5) Black Leaders Use Mainstream English
6) Good and Evil in the Language of Hip Hop
7) Teaching Mainstream English to Black Children
8) Expert Commentary on Black English
9) Remarks and Statistics
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Loraine R on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Garrard McClendon has written a terrific book which is apparently receiving flak from some quarters for perceived political incorrectness. What are the issues here? The book is a useful guide to standard English for all groups, although it is especially designed for and directed to the African American community as indicated in its title("Ax or Ask? The African American Guide to Better English.") That there may be conflicted feelings from some within the community is understandable when we consider that no individual or group likes to feel singled out particularly when the implication is that remedial work is needed. Some of the controversy, however, also probably centers on the unfortunate choice of the word 'better' in the book's title. There is no good, better or best when applied to language. There is standard and dialect. Dialects, such as those used by some African Americans and many other groups, are valid and valuable in their own right and appropriate in many contexts (this point is addressed in the book). The value of mastering the standard language (not instead of, but as well as the dialect), is that the standard language cuts across groups and increases access and opportunity. Had Mr. McClendon entitled his book "Ax or Ask? The African American Guide to Standard English", he would have had the same terrific book without much of the controversy. I urge his critics to get over it, to acknowledge the author's laudable motives and achievement and get behind the effort.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Hutchinson on June 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Communication is a neccessity in life and clarity in communication is the foundation of being understood. I found this book to be helpful for all people to rid themselves of the speech that has insinuated itself in todays language.
This guide is simply laid out and is very thorough. Included are words from A to Z that are used incorrectly with helpful correct and incorrect examples.
I purchased several books for myself, friends and family.
I applaud Mr. McClendon for his integrity as an educator in fullfilling his responsibility rather than doing what is politically correct.
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