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WHY do minorities(you know who) use that primitave dialect?
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infidelone
CAVE TROLL


Joined: 02 Jul 2002
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the origin of the west coast professor's theory, was a desire to improve the performance of minorities in national standard testing.

If I remember correctly, the basis of his argument was that if a minority student was receiving his education from a non-minority teacher, who did not communicate with the same dialect as the student, that the quality of education/communication was not equal to that of a student of a non-minority background receiving his/her education from a non-minority teacher.

There are issues here that still need to be worked out. Is a teacher justified in proclaiming that the use of slang is "improper" , even if that is the way that the student was taught to speak by their parents? If you were brought up in a home where you were introduced to english in these terms, is it fair that you , the minority, should have to completely re-educate yourself?

Is there an unfair advantage, and if so: how do you deal with it?
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 10:01 am
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Location: ann arbor
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reggie,
i disagree wholeheartedly.
first the facts. the term "ebonics" was not 'invented' by any west coast intellectual "in order to justify a new course of study and to elevate himself within academia." that there are various systematic and structural varieties within "ebonics" that make it profoundly different from standard english is self-obvious to anyone familiar with both and it has been established by numerous studies over the past forty years. the issue came into national debate when the oakland, ca school district proposed to recognize "ebonics" (also known as AAVE- "African American Vernacular English") as a tool for teaching standard english. it was wildly misinterpreted. most people, idiots that they are, thought that the school district was intending on teaching courses on AAVE to its students. this might not be too bad of an idea, at some point, but the idea they had was simply to educate its teachers in AAVE so that they could better serve their students who were mostly familiar with AAVE and not the queen's english- the same way that you'd want teachers of english in japan to have an understanding of the rules of japanese.
to characterize AAVE as "slang" is demeaning, not to mention just plain wrong. it is a denial of the historic and cultural roots that nurture the language. and no, it's not universally spoken among 'black' people, but it's pretty universal throughout the US- it's essentially the same language in california as it is in kentucky. ask any 'you know who,' like myself, who has to regularly switch between AAVE and standard english in their daily lives. they'll tell you: you really have to switch mindsets. it's very similar to being in a situation where you have to switch languages entirely.


Last edited by icarus502 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 10:11 am
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Reggie



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Location: Queens, NYC
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It is my contention that "ebonics" is a racist construct to further disenfranchise black Americans, much like the term "African-American."

For one thing, everyone says that "ebonics" is a new kind of language with its own grammar rules, but this is patently false. Slang often comes with unorthodox sentence structure, fluid spellings and meanings, etc. But this doesn't make it a new language, if anything it is an extension of American English. The Southern expression "might could" is unorthodox, but you wouldn't say that someone that uses the phrase speaks "Southern," would you? Saying "That shit is gully" still has the same noun-joining verb-adjective structure as many sentences, even though you won't find the word "gully" in Webster's and the noun is poorly defined (though it may in fact be fecal matter.)

Secondly, there is no universal "black slang." Slang varies from locale to locale, and though you can derive some slang spoken by black people in the North from slang spoken during the Antebellum South, this doesn't make it "blackspeak." The pervasiveness of media can rocket slang around the world and make it seem like a universal speaking code, but the origins and usage of a word are telltale. New Yorkers were calling each other "son," with gold teeth in their mouth, and this has been interpreted as "dun" elsewhere in the country--so much so that it has become its own word. "Off the meter" becomes "Off the meatrack," "Off the heezy," etc. "Off the [noun]" is not succinct enough to warrant any examination, as far as I am concerned.

And thirdly, the notion of "ebonics" plugs directly into academia's notion that black culture is somehow taking place on another planet. Even though the neighborhood doesn't make the evening news, it's right next door, or across the street, or whatever. There is no "black culture" any more than there is a "white culture." There is no such thing as race, and particularly in this country where most people are mutts, there is barely such a thing as national derivatives. While missives and theses are rattled off to describe the wonders of black culture, black people in America become further alienated from the larger culture, which by default must be white (right?) To me, that's real fucked up and I'm not afraid to say it.

"Ebonics" doesn't make me furious, though. I am aware that for many, black people may as well live on another planet, and for them such academic discourse is the only option. I have my own opinions about it, having grown up in NYC.

icarus - I have to switch between using slang and speaking "the Queen's English" depending on my circumstance, too. It's not a denial of my culture, it is just what you have to do sometimes to hold a job. If a Japanese person can learn "the Queen's English," then surely a black American can as well.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:06 am
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Awww mn



Joined: 03 Jul 2002
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Location: barbary coast
bathtub is just trying to get a rise out of you  Reply with quote  

but lets talk about sociolinguistics--I know icarus is down! i love regional vernacular because it is fascinating, except for maybe hella. ebonics, african-american vernacular, appalachia talk, bible belt blabber...I appreciate the use of language to achieve solidarity until some people insincerely appropriate that shit.

Reggie wrote:
It is my contention that "ebonics" is a racist construct to further disenfranchise black Americans, much like the term "African-American."

For one thing, everyone says that "ebonics" is a new kind of language with its own grammar rules, but this is patently false. Slang often comes with unorthodox sentence structure, fluid spellings and meanings, etc. But this doesn't make it a new language, if anything it is an extension of American English. The Southern expression "might could" is unorthodox, but you wouldn't say that someone that uses the phrase speaks "Southern," would you?


I wouldn't say someone speaks Southern, but I'd say they use a Southern Vernacular and that would be accurate without being demeaning. Slang is a term that was coined by unyielding "intellectuals" who have very strict notions on the use of Standard English as the "right" english. But that is wrong. Look at how many variations of English there are all over the world that people would accept as legit: Brit English, Aussie Eng, etc. But AAVE aka "Ebonics" has a right to be up there as well as hybrid languages like Creole and Pidgin that are heavily influenced by english without being really english.

Chomsky writes some good ass ish on the topic.

skunk = polecat
soda = schpritzer = pop
hella = mad


Last edited by Awww mn on Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:30 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:19 am
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note1



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
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late  Reply with quote  

This topic is SO three years ago.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:22 am
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


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yeah it's pretty obvious bathtub is trying to get a rise out of everyone. i have plenty more to say on the topic but not much time. i'll get back to it.
in the meantime, here's a resolution i found by the Linguistic Society of America on the topic:

LSA RESOLUTION ON THE OAKLAND
"EBONICS" ISSUE
Whereas there has been a great deal of discussion in the media and among the American public about the l8 December l996 decision of the Oakland School Board to recognize the language variety spoken by many African American students and to take it into account in teaching Standard English, the Linguistic Society of America, as a society of scholars engaged in the scientific study of language, hereby resolves to make it known that:
a. The variety known as "Ebonics," "African American Vernacular English" (AAVE), and "Vernacular Black English" and by other names is systematic and rule-governed like all natural speech varieties. In fact, all human linguistic systems--spoken, signed, and written -- are fundamentally regular. The systematic and expressive nature of the grammar and pronunciation patterns of the African American vernacular has been established by numerous scientific studies over the past thirty years. Characterizations of Ebonics as "slang," "mutant," " lazy," "defective," "ungrammatical," or "broken English" are incorrect and demeaning.

b. The distinction between "languages" and "dialects" is usually made more on social and political grounds than on purely linguistic ones. For example, different varieties of Chinese are popularly regarded as "dialects," though their speakers cannot understand each other, but speakers of Swedish and Norwegian, which are regarded as separate "languages," generally understand each other. What is important from a linguistic and educational point of view is not whether AAVE is called a "language" or a "dialect" but rather that its systematicity be recognized.

c. As affirmed in the LSA Statement of Language Rights (June l996), there are individual and group benefits to maintaining vernacular speech varieties and there are scientific and human advantages to linguistic diversity. For those living in the United States there are also benefits in acquiring Standard English and resources should be made available to all who aspire to mastery of Standard English. The Oakland School Board's commitment to helping students master Standard English is commendable.

d. There is evidence from Sweden, the US, and other countries that speakers of other varieties can be aided in their learning of the standard variety by pedagogical approaches which recognize the legitimacy of the other varieties of a language. From this perspective, the Oakland School Board's decision to recognize the vernacular of African American students in teaching them Standard English is linguistically and pedagogically sound.

Chicago, Illinois
January l997



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Selected References (books only)
Baratz, Joan C., and Roger W. Shuy, eds. 1969. Teaching Black Children to read. Washington, DC: Center or Applied Linguistics.
Baugh, John. 1983. Black street speech: Its history, structure and survival. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bloome, David, and J. Lemke, eds. 1995. Special Issue: Africanized English and Education. Linguistics and Educaton 7.
Burling, Robbins. 1973. English in black and white. New York: Holt.
Butters, Ron. 1989. The death of Black English: Convergence and divergence in American English. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
Dandy, Evelyn. 1991. Black communications: Breaking down the barriers. Chicago: African American Images.
DeStephano, Johanna 1973, ed. Language, society and education: A profile of Black English. Worthington, OH: Charles A. Jones.
Dillard, J. L. 1972. Black English: Its history and usage in the United States. New York: Random House.
Fasold, Ralph W., and Roger W. Shuy, eds. 1970. Teaching Standard English in the inner city. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Gadsden, V. and D. Wagner , eds. 1995. Literacy among African American youth. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Jones, Regina, ed. 1996. Handbook of tests and measurements for Black populations. Hampton, VA: Cobbs and Henry.
Kochman, Thomas. 1981. Black and white styles in conflict. NY: Holt Rinehart.
Kochman, Thomas, ed. 1972. Rappin' and stylin' out. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Labov, William 1972. Language in the inner city: Studies in the Black English verna cular. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Lippi-Green, Rosina. To appear. English with an accent. London: Routledge.
Mufwene, Salikoko S., John R. Rickford, Guy Bailey and John Baugh, eds. To appear. African American English. London: Routledge.
Rickford, John R., and Lisa Green. To appear. African American Vernacular English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shuy, Roger W., ed. 1965 . Social dialects and language learning. Champaign, Ill., National Council of Teachers of English.
Simpkins, G., G. Holt, and C. Simpkins. 1977. Bridge: A cross-cultural reading program. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Smitherman, Geneva. 1986. Talkin and testifyin: The language of Black America. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
_____ 1994 Black Talk. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
_____, ed. 1981. Black English and the Education of Black Children and Youth. Detroit: Center for Black Studies, Wayne State University Press.
Taylor, Hanni U. 1989. Standard English, Black English, and bidialectalism: A controversy. NY: Peter Lang.
Williams, Robert L. 1975 Ebonics: The true language of Black folks. St Louis: Institute of Black Studies.
Wolfram, Walt 1969. A linguistic description of Detroit Negro speech. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
_____ 1991. Dialects and American English. Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Prentice Hall and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Wolfram, Walter A., and Donna Christian 1989. Dialects and education: Issues and answers. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Wolfram, Walter A. and Clarke, Nona, eds. 1971. Black-White speech relationships. Washington: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:30 am
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Awww mn



Joined: 03 Jul 2002
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and for the record  Reply with quote  

AAVE is not the result of ignorance and lack of education dating back to the days of slavery. Saying that is an assumption and an all too easy oversimplification. AAVE is the result of people in the black community using language to achive solidarity. If you believe the first point then how do you explain the fact that there are many Black Americans who are well versedand exceptionally articulate when using standard english in places like the office but when they come home or talk with friends they decide to use AAVE with the fam. It's an intimacy-solidarity thing, not a result of racism and slavery.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:40 am
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Reggie



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Fair enough. Thanks for the useful response, and I am not trying to be sarcastic.

Peace,
Reg
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:41 am
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Reggie



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Location: Queens, NYC
Re: and for the record  Reply with quote  

awww damn wrote:
AAVE is not the result of ignorance and lack of education dating back to the days of slavery. Saying that is an assumption and an all too easy oversimplification. AAVE is the result of people in the black community using language to achive solidarity. If you believe the first point then how do you explain the fact that there are many Black Americans who are well versedand exceptionally articulate when using standard english in places like the office but when they come home or talk with friends they decide to use AAVE with the fam. It's an intimacy-solidarity thing, not a result of racism and slavery.


I don't think anyone on this thread said it was.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 11:42 am
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Ecap3



Joined: 08 Jul 2002
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Location: here
I'd just thought you might like to know,  Reply with quote  

this is how your question sounded to me, "why do black people sound stupid when they talk" you should think about your post,
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 12:17 pm
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Awww mn



Joined: 03 Jul 2002
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someone did  Reply with quote  

ERNIE RHODES wrote:
"Ebonics" or slang can be traced back to the days of slavery. Obviously, slaves were not taught to read or write.They were not taught to speak formally either. Any English they spoke was adopted from listening to there ownwers or other caucasians, which means they only got bits and peices of the language.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 12:29 pm
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Reggie



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I missed that, thanks.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 12:40 pm
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ERNIE RHODES



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I know I said I would retire from this post, but aaaw damn, made comments I want to repectfully respond to. First I agree with everything you said about AAVE and it's relation to solidarity in the Black community. To say that is lack of formal education is THE ONLY source of AAVE does oversimplify (my bad). I would like to point out some example of vernacular I've heard in relation to my point. Were I grew up (Southern Illinois), I often heard some black people use the word "fin" as the verb "going to", as I have not, but I will.

Example "I'm fin to go home"="I'm going to go home"

"Fin" is the shortend version of "fixing". As I understand it, the word "fixing" repaced "going" when peolpe didn't nessesarily know what the correct verb to use was. This is my understanding and one example that explains where I'm coming from. At this point I'm trying to learn from this thread. My response here is done simply to share my understanding, not to say that I'm right and others are wrong. I do agree that people do go back and forth between AAVE and standard english. That was a good point that I should have pointed out. Though history may have not defined the language, it certainly effected it. Share more if you want because I'll take it in with an open mind.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 12:41 pm
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pony boy



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ebonics  Reply with quote  

ebonics is a combination of ebony and phonics, which means "sounds black". that's racist in my book because not all black people use the same type of slang if any at all.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 1:13 pm
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themanifestdestiny



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Saying they don't understand the use of the word is "going" is weak. They obviously understand, they're using the word "going" just with different letters.

Guess what? White kids have slang too.
Post Fri Jul 12, 2002 2:03 pm
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