Ebonics.. A real language?

May 13, 2016
by: tsaeteurn

Everybody has different ways of interpreting English. It is true that every region has its own sort of improper grammar and slang like “Broken English”. A specific type of this dialect that is commonly use today is “Ebonics” or “AAVE”(African American Vernacular English) . Rather than broken English Ebonics is American black English that is regarded as an actual language in it’s own right.

The term Ebonics was created in 1973 by a group of intellectual black students. At that time it was the initial large-scale linguistics studies of African American speech-communities that began this movement. This movement didn’t catch on to the public until December of 1996. The School Board of Oakland, California realized Ebonics was the “primary language of its African American students” said writer John R. Rickford. To resolve this controversy the School Board took into account by teaching them standard or academic English.

Well how does Ebonics sound like? When it comes to mind you would think slang words. It is popular among teenagers and in hip-hop. Examples are like “ashy” which describes the appearance of black skin when dry. Pronouncing and reading Ebonics can be tricky. Here is an example sentence from the book THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston, “Yeah, Janie, youse got yo’ womanhood on yuh” (12,Hurston). As you can see it is exactly spelled how it is pronounced.

The origins of Ebonics are disputable. It is certain that it started with the West African origins because of the slave trade during the colonial period.Speculators say that it comes from the Caribbean. Some say that it came from the Europeans because of the foreign language that slaves had accustomed to so they created their version. It is unquestionable that this dialect took generations of African American history to become what it is today.

This topic spoke out to me because of the book by Zora Neale Hurston that we are reading currently. This type of dialect shows character and it dials into how people interacted back then. To be honest, reading the pronunciations are kind of challenging but it is well worth it. Ebonics is a truly honored language that holds onto the respected roots of African American culture.

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