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Michael Cirelli - Triglossia - MRA 2011
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Michael Cirelli - Triglossia - MRA 2011


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MRA 2011 Presentation by Michael Cirelli, Executive Director, Urban Word NYC (

MRA 2011 Presentation by Michael Cirelli, Executive Director, Urban Word NYC (

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  • 2. Mos Def, Brooklyn (Black on Both Sides, 1999)
    Sometimes I sit back
    Reflect on the place that I live at
    Unlike any place I ever been at
  • 3. The home of BIG GATS
    BIG GATS =
  • 4. Deep dish hammer rim caps, have mishap, push ya wig back
    = deep dish hammer
    rim caps
    = push ya wig back
  • 5. It’s where you go to get the fresh trim at,Fulton & Jay’s got the Timb Rack
    Fulton Street Mall & Jay Street have Timberland boots…
  • 6. Blue collars Metro Cardin’ it
  • 7. Thugs mobbinit,
    Form partnership,
    Increase armament,
    Street pharmacist,
    Deep consequence,
  • 8. If you seek sleek ornaments and get caught
    (Slick Rick the Ruler!)
  • 9. Rode the White Horse,
    Can’t get off,
    Big dawgs that trick off
    Just get sent off,
    The shoebox stash
    Is all they seeds got to live off
  • 10. It’s real yo but still yothere’s LOVE here
    And it’s felt by everybody who comes here
    Outtatowners take the plane train and bus here
  • 11. Must be somethin that they really want here
    One year as a resident DEEP IN SENTIMENT
    They shout out
    GO Brooklyn!
    Representing it?
  • 12. Sitting on their front stoop sippin’ Guinesses
    Using native dialect in their sentences
    From the treelined blocks to the tenements
    To the Mom & Pops local shops businesses
  • 13. “Dead Ass”
    Bodega = corner store
    Turpentine = paint remover
    Dead Ass = SERIOUS
  • 14. PO PO = POLICE
    Urban Dictionary: popo
    cops cop
    4-4 5-o 5.0 50
    bacon crap dumbass fopohoco hood kak loser mall cop one time popo etc etcetc
  • 15. Chamillionaire ft Krazy Bone
    riding dirty
    driving a vehicle with any form of illegality;1. Driving with an expired, suspended, or revoked license; or driving without a valid license or license plates.2. Driving a vehicle with expired tags or failed inspection.3. Driving a stolen vehicle.4. Driving with unregistered guns in the vehicle.5. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence.6. Driving with illegal drugs/controlled substances in a vehicle.
    Entry: hyphyPronunciation: "HIGH-fee"Function: adjectiveEtymology: San Francisco Bay Area, shortened perhaps from English dialect "hyperactive"; other sources cite a combination of "hype" and "fly." Popularized by E-40 and the Federation's song "Hyphy" (2004); first known use on record by KeakDa Sneak in 1998 (on "Cool," from his LP Sneakacidle).1 : dangerous and irrational: CRAZY;2 : amusingly eccentric; without inhibition: GOOFY
  • 17. These words make me feel OLD, and ALABASTER
    = WHITE
  • 18. I’m not afraid of dope lyrics,not dope meaning weed but dopemeaning good
    SHOOK =
  • 19. For sure
    Highly intoxicated; Crazy drunk.
    Music style made popular by hip-hop artist Lil Jon.
    Bay Area word for
    “very” or “a lot”
    Fo’ shizzle=
    Crunk =
    Hella =
  • 20. I want to hang them
    On the doors of sonnets
    Like a welcome sign
    To an apartment
    I don’t live in.
    R.A.P. (16 Bars)
    R: Brightening
    A: Light bulb
    R: Recycle
    A: Paper
    R: Later
    A: Lesson Plans
    R: South of France
    A: Destination
    R: Hesitation
    A: Stop
    R: Plot
    A: Literacy
    R: With urgency
    A: Immediate
    R: Reading it
  • 22. “Broken English” by Jamila Lyiscott
  • 23. Trilingualism/Diglossia
    (Judith Baker, Chapter 4, The Skin That We Speak)
    “When formal English no longer threatens to demean them, students are more than willing to master it.”
    “Once the respect for home language is established, I concentrate on how different forms of English are appropriate in different contexts, instead of relying on the right/wrong dichotomy students usually face in school.”
    WHAT ARE SOME HOME/COMMUNAL/STREET Languages of our youth (L1)?
    Caribbean/West Indian
    Regional words/expressions
    AAVE (African-American Vernacular English)/Ebonics
    • Style-setting language (new, creative use of words)
    • 24. Double subjects/double negatives
    • 25. Using the participle instead of the past tense
    • 26. HHNL (Hip-Hop Nation Language)
    • 27. Text/Twitter/Facebook Linguistics
    • 28. The Language of Technology
    Diglossia (Sociolinguistics term)
    A situation in which two or more varieties of the same language are used by the same speakers under different conditions.1964 -E. PALMER
    [translating A. Martinet] Linguists have and refined status,proposed the term ‘diglossia’ to designate a situation where a community uses both a more colloquial idiom of less prestige and another of more learned .The term is particularly appropriate when applied to those languages that have distinct ‘high’ and ‘low’ varieties.
  • 29. Language & Power“Linguistic Capital”
    Language can be used (and is used) as a social/cultural/political currency for exchange of values, beliefs, dispositions, etc. It is also an essential part of who we are.
    Some languages are valued more than others; therefore, certain individuals are perceived to have greater worth in society than others.
    The value of language is constantly shifting, amended by the elite to reflect them (their languages, interests, etc).
  • 30. The Consequences of Language Politics
    The success of the dominant group in projecting their values, dispositions, interests, etc. whereby the masses consent to multiple forms of their oppression
    Multiple Forms of Oppression
    Silencings, fears and hatreds of self/others, feelings of , inferiority/superiority and entitlement/disentitlement
    Benign Ideologies
    Missionary Models/Deficit Theories
    We MUST Value Multiple Linguistic Forms
    Is Spanish an American Language?
    Yes! Almost a quarter of Americans speak Spanish, live in Spanish speaking communities, or live in Spanish speaking homesspeaking homes
    Is Ebonics is an American language?
    Yes! Rule Governed and Systematic/also widely spoken by many Americans (especially those of us who embrace Hip Hop)
  • 31. Urban Word NYCwww.urbanwordnyc.orgMissionUrban Word NYC champions the voices of New York City youth by providing platforms for critical literacy, youth development and leadership through free and uncensored writing, college prep and performance opportunities.VisionUrban Word NYC is the central hub for youth voice, identity and critical literacy in New York City and is the national leader in youth literary arts and youth development programs.
  • 32. Critical Literacy:Critical literacy encourages readers to actively analyze texts and takes a critical or questioning approach towards building literacy. For Urban Word, critical literacy also ignites response and action.
    We call it BIG LITERACY
    What is literacy?
    lit·er·a·cy  n.1. The condition or quality of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.
    2. The condition or quality of being knowledgeable in a particular subject or field: cultural literacy; computer literacy.
    BIG LITERACY extends beyond reading & writing to also engage knowledge of:
    SELF (I AM)
    Society & Beyond (IMAGINATION)
    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” –Albert Einstein
  • 33. Writing that Engages BIG LITERACY and CHAMPIONS VOICE
    New England
    I am a bubbler on a hot summer day.
    I’m from hot kawfee even on hot days.
    Where I’m from chocolate jimmies cover an ice cream cone like sweet ants.
    I am that Red Sox game crackling through the radio
    And I’ll be that home run ball soaring out the park.
    5 Words, Vernacular, Phrases, Pastimes, Local Heroes, Sports, that represent and are uniquely part of your home, family, friends
    2 “I AM” Statements (Metaphors)
    2 “Where I’m From” Statements
    1 “Where I’ll Be” Statement
  • 34. WHY SPOKEN WORD POETRY & Hip-Hop: Pedagogy of the Oppressed & the Pedagogy of Youth(Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Friere, 1970)
    “Who are better prepared than the oppressed to understand the significance of an oppressive society? Who suffer the effects of oppression more than the oppressed? Who can better understand the necessity of liberation? They will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis for their quest for it, through the recognition of the necessity to fight for it.” (pg. 45)
    “Liberating action involves a moment of perception and volition.” (pg. 51)
    PRAXIS = Perception/Identification + Action
    Spoken Word is the perfect vehicle for Praxis.
    This kind of education is different from traditional modes of teaching that involve the “banking method.” “Education becomes an act of depositing, in which students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiqués and makes deposits in which students patiently receive, memorize and repeat.” (pg. 72)
  • 35. “Banking education maintains and even stimulates the contradiction through the following attitudes and practices, which mirror oppressive society as a whole:”
    (a) the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
    (b) the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing;
    (c) the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;
    (d) the teacher talks and the students listen—meekly;
    (e) the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;
    (f) the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;
    (g) the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher;
    (h) the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it;
    (i) the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his or her own professional authority, which s/he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;
    (j) the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects. (pg. 73)
    “It is not surprising that the banking concept of education regards men as adaptable, manageable beings. The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world.” (pg. 73)
  • 36. There is an entire generation of educators who come to the classroom with a radically different relationship to oral language (hip-hop), access to information (the Internet), and the velocity of thought (wireless communication) than their predecessors. (Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Total Chaos, 2007)
    Educators that honor and acknowledge the narratives of the students (in the center, not margins) of the cipher, who turn “complacent literacy” into active literacy.
    Saul Williams represents a crossroads figure that “hybridizes” hip-hop and spoken word.
    “Hip-hop has given you a model to present yourself verbally in the public domain.”
    “Spoken word inherently adheres to the intellectual and social upliftment of the collective.”
    Free Writing Programs
    Manhattan 4x/week year-round
    Brooklyn 3x/week year-round
    Creatively College Bound Program
    Youth Poet Laureate Program
    NY Knicks Writing Intensives
    Summer Institute for Social Justice & Applied Poetics
    Free Performance Opportunities
    Annual NYC Teen Poetry Slam culminating at the Apollo Theater
    NY Knicks Poetry Slam culminating on Broadway
    Voter Poet Slam
    Summer Slam
    Dance Theater Workshop Intensives
    Free College Prep & College Bound Resources
    Annual College Fair
    Creatively College Bound
    $350,000 in scholarships
    Full tuition scholarships
    Youth Leadership Opportunities
    Word Wide Youth Leadership Board
    Town Hall Meetings
    Youth Ambassadors
    Youth Mentorship
    Free Resources for Teachers & Educators
    Preemptive Education Conference at NYU
    Hip-Hop in the Heartland at UW-Madison
  • 38. The X Factor The Cipher
  • 39. How do we the page?
    hey, teacher, teacher
    tell me how do you respond to students?
    and refresh the page and restart the memory?
    respark the soul and rebuild the energy?
    we stopped the ignorance, we killed the enemies
    —Kanye West, Dark Fantasy
  • 40. There is an entire generation of educators who come to the classroom with a radically different relationship to oral language (hip-hop), access to information (the Internet), and the velocity of thought (wireless communication) than their predecessors. (Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Total Chaos, 2007)
  • 41. Holler.
    Michael Cirelli, Executive Director
    Urban Word NYC
    Poetry Jam (Recorded Books, 2010)
    Creatively College Bound Reader
    (UW, 2008)
    Hip-Hop Poetry & The Classics
    (Milk Mug, 2004)
    Everyone Loves The Situation
    (Penmanship Books, 2011)
    Vacations on the Black Star Line
    (HL Press, 2010)
    Lobster with Ol’ Dirty Bastard
    (HL Press, 2008)