I was flicking through an American Award-winning Print Advertising yearbook the other day as part of my course, sitting in the community/public announcements section I saw a poster about Ebonics.

The description was minimal but it was an 'argument against'.

I'm sure this topic has been discussed at length before, but it's a new concept to me (I don't live in the USA), and I wondered if anyone can point me to some current reading about it - that explains the context and timeframes - is this still an ongoing debate??? - or, offer any views.
I would appreciate your efforts.

I'm not an intellectual, but I am a lover of reading, words, and liguistics and semiotics - I find these topics fascinating, and they also help me learn about the history and complexities of different cultures, our differences and similarities.

The more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn. Wink
<small>"Follow the grain in your own wood.” ~ Howard Thurman</small>
Original Post
Sorry I don't have any linx to give you right now, but I will go on line and look for you...

I had read a really good article by a professor of linguistics, that really opned my eyes on language in general..

You can do a google search on "Ebonics", "Black Vernacular English", or "Black English"...

That should get you started..

Peace out...
thanks blaqfist, I'd appreciate that.

I'd also be interested in reading that article you mentioned if it's easy to come by.

Will follow up on google though as well. I've been a bit red eye 'googled out' this week doing gazillions of searches to research other (less interesting) stuff.
It is my belief that "ebonics" or as some call it, Black English, are borne of the same stimuli that Kreyol(creole) and Patwa(patios) were borne of... survival.

Kreyol & Patwa came as a result of many Africans being hearded together who did not speak the same language. They, as a matter of course, would routinely create a mutual language that they could all understand that was a mix of their collective native tongues and the language of their oppressor. They needed a way to communicate with each other and yet not be understood by the oppressor. The slave owners would hear the language and think that the little Africans were trying to speak their language, but were not quite able to get it... little did they know that plans for escape and survival were being made right under their noses.

Ebonics are a milder and somewhat watered down version of those other languages. IMHO.
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Ebonics are a milder and somewhat watered down version of those other languages.---AudioGuy

I get your point, and agree with the conclusions.

I'm not sure I see the extension to Ebonics even watered down.

I have long believed that what is called 'Ebonics' is a valid dialect of American English.

I believe it sustains itself in isolation, and not as manifestation of some grand plan. Unless the isolation is to be called the result of the plan of our society to deny access to African American-Americans.

I agree with that.

I have not been able to get a handle on why 'Ebonics' is able to sustain itself from one generation to the next even in the face of education in the dominant language, AND daily participation in the general society.

Why do you think that is true?


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
I'm not sure I see the extension to Ebonics even watered down.

I have long believed that what is called 'Ebonics' is a valid dialect of American English.
By virtue of the fact that you consider it to be a "dialect" of english means that it is watered down...

Kreyol and Patwa are separate and distinct languages...
quote:
By virtue of the fact that you consider it to be a "dialect" of english means that it is watered down...

Kreyol and Patwa are separate and distinct languages..
---AudioGuy

I thought I was in agreement. If not, I agree with the language status of Kreyol (Creole) and Patwa.

I also don't disagree with the 'watered-down English' description of Ebonics.

I wondered at the insistence of the survival of the dialect.


PEACE

Jim Chester
Aw c'mon Negro apologists. Ebonics is ignorant folks speaking ignorantly! Calling Ebonics a dialect (and thereby giving it some kind of cultural authenticity) is like calling what Vanilla Ice did rap. nono

Seriously, what do you say to those who say that Ebonics is merely a bastardization of the English language and that as long as we live in this land, to prosper, we must speak their langauage and master their ways? Please note - that argument says nothing about forgetting or subordinating our own culture. Speaking the King's English might be considered a tactic to greater achievement in America.

Thoughts?
Maybe we should define what ebonics is...

Is it the lingo that is spoken in places like the deep south?

Is it the lingo that has been generated by the "Hip Hop" generation?

Is it the everyday lingo that we use amongst ourselves?
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:

Maybe we should define what ebonics is...

Is it the lingo that is spoken in places like the deep south?

Is it the lingo that has been generated by the "Hip Hop" generation?

Is it the everyday lingo that we use amongst ourselves?


YES
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Aw c'mon Negro apologists. Ebonics is ignorant folks speaking ignorantly! Calling Ebonics a dialect (and thereby giving it some kind of cultural authenticity) is like calling what Vanilla Ice did rap. nono

Seriously, what do you say to those who say that Ebonics is merely a bastardization of the English language and that as long as we live in this land, to prosper, we must speak their langauage and master their ways? Please note - that argument says nothing about forgetting or subordinating our own culture. Speaking the King's English might be considered a tactic to greater achievement in America.

Thoughts?


Thankz MBM....for that statement......I think it is a shame to need special accomodations that people born 60, 70 and 80 years ago did not need...plus, how will that bs factor in the educational and employment consideration(s) process...this is nothing but a method for blacks to render THEMSELVES non-competitive in a systematic fashion..you do not see such a "ignunt" ass idea being promoted for those whites in the appalachain region that murder the english language like boomhauer on king of the hill....if there was any merit to that nonsense...they would have been the topic of concern first..............
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:
It is my belief that "ebonics" or as some call it, Black English, are borne of the same stimuli that Kreyol(creole) and Patwa(patios) were borne of... survival.

Kreyol & Patwa came as a result of many Africans being hearded together who did not speak the same language. They, as a matter of course, would routinely create a mutual language that they could all understand that was a mix of their collective native toungues and the language of their oppressor. They needed a way to communicate with each other and yet not be understood by the oppressor. The slave owners would hear the language and think that the little Africans were trying to speak their language, but were not quite able to get it... little did they know that plans for escape and survival were being made right under their noses.

Ebonics are a milder and somewhat watered down version of those other languages. IMHO.


thanks for this informative response...

From what I've read, the same can be said about Voudou, as a cultural link and means of unity and identity.

I'm wondering about people's attitudes to its everyday use. Is it encouraged or frowned on?

I'm surprised to hear someone say it is part of today's rap.

So is ebonics considered the 'new' interpretation of an old language, or has it naturally evolved as a hybrid of both. Is there really a wide difference between the patwa people in their 40's speak and the 20-something rappers?

Personally, any patwa that keeps the feel and flow and character of its culture alive is a good thing.
I see ebonics as a naturally evolv[ing] hybrid of the english language.

"Is it frowned upon or encouraged?" In every Black household that I know, every school-aged kid spoke three "languages", one that was acceptable in school, one that was acceptable in the home and one that was acceptable in the street. In most cases, the latter was actively discouraged from being used in the first setting by our parent(s).
I heard... {didn't look it up}

That one of these states {maybe Cali} is thinking about incorporating ebonics into the schools. Not as a class, but as a second language. In other words, math teachers would be teaching black students math, using ebonics...

The first thing I thought was "these white people will do anything to keep us below the standards of education".
Make no mistake, Heru, these ideas are advanced by BLACK people who honestly think this b.s. is a good idea.

I will be the first to defend Black English's status as a naturally occurring dialect. it has cultural, grammatical and syntactical features that make that clear to me. But this whole idea that using it as a second language in teaching is crap. First of all, the kids DO understand standard English. Second, the adults who would be "using" this, don't always really "KNOW" Black English themselves!!

Back in the 90s when Oakland was talking about this, they passed a resolution about it. In the resolution, the gave an example of Black English (I hate the term Ebonics. It's some stupid pseudo-intellectual foolishness that some clown made up, thinking he was doing something. "Ebony Phonics." Indeed.). The example was something like, "John be goin' to the store," and it was "translated" to mean, "John IS going to the store."

'Cep' for one thing: they're wrong. When we use "be" unconjugated in a sentence, it does not mean "is." "John be goin' to the store" means something like, "John usually goes to the store." It's a construct fairly unique to black English. "John IS going to the store," is more normally rendered in black English as "John goin' to the store." Sometimes in rap songs, you hear a rapper say something like, "I be 50 Cent," but that's just for effect. In real speech, "be" implies tendency or regularity.

Why this matters is simple: if a teacher tells a child that in standard English, they say "John IS going to the store" whenever we would normally say "John Be goin'," the teacher is screwing these kids up, because that's not the proper code-switch. What it boils down to is that Black English is not standardized enough to use it as a second language for teaching purposes. That lack of standardization makes it ineffective as a teaching tool. Period.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

What it boils down to is that Black English is not standardized enough to use it as a second language for teaching purposes. That lack of standardization makes it ineffective as a teaching tool. Period.


I agree.

I advocate Patwa as a class, because it's rhythmic, poetic, and it sounds beautiful. Ebonics however is the best way for us to walk around with 'uneducated' stamped on our forheads.

To what purpose does ebonics serve anyway? Who's learning what? Is it our image/identity? Why would we need ebonics at school?

Seems to me like whites believe our children don't understand them when the speak proper english. We might not have the luxury of private schools that give us these extensive vocabularies, but I think we can understand the difference between bad/good grammar.
If my memory serves me correctly, the ebonics in schools debate came as a result of teachers feeling as though they were not reaching the kids in school. They incorrectly assumed that the reasoning behind that was because of a "language barrier". What they failed to realize is that what the kids were being taught was not what they were hearing from conscious rap. There was a tremendous gap between what they were hearing in history class about our contribution to this country and our lives prior to coming to this country versus what they heard from the likes of KRS-1, Public Enemy, X-Clan and the like.

Interesting how the ebonics debate stopped around the same time that gangsta rap became popular and conscious rap fell by the wayside...
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Aw c'mon Negro apologists. Ebonics is ignorant folks speaking ignorantly! Calling Ebonics a dialect (and thereby giving it some kind of cultural authenticity) is like calling what Vanilla Ice did rap. nono

Seriously, what do you say to those who say that Ebonics is merely a bastardization of the English language and that as long as we live in this land, to prosper, we must speak their langauage and master their ways? Please note - that argument says nothing about forgetting or subordinating our own culture. Speaking the King's English might be considered a tactic to greater achievement in America.

Thoughts?


I agree with 'ignorant...speaking ignorantly'.

'Cultural authenticity' is undeniable. Who else speaks it except for those imitating, or trying to imitate the cultural source.

Ebonis IS a 'bastardization of the (American) English language.

I say that you must have an ability to understand and speak 'the language' enough achieve 'your end.'

That may be success, and I recognize that is begging the question.

The answer for 'everyday people', of course, is 'Yes. You will not do well in a society where you cannot speak, and understand the language.

Speaking the language is the tactic of reality.

Teaching in school as a requirement is stupid.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Aw c'mon Negro apologists. Ebonics is ignorant folks speaking ignorantly! Calling Ebonics a dialect (and thereby giving it some kind of cultural authenticity) is like calling what Vanilla Ice did rap. nono




So anyone who speaks it at anytime is an ignorant person? If I choose to speak it around family and friends, I'm ignorant? I can form complete 'English' sentences as well. Am I still ignorant?

And I was disturbed by the term 'Black English'. If Ebonics is considered negative, then why are we attributing it exclusively to Black people? I can send you 10 whites, 10 Hispanics, and 10 Asians today who speak it. Does anyone know who created this expression?
And I was disturbed by the term 'Black English'. If Ebonics is considered negative, then why are we attributing it exclusively to Black people? I can send you 10 whites, 10 Hispanics, and 10 Asians today who speak it. Does anyone know who created this expression?---SistaSouljah

'Black English is brought to you by the same folks who brought 'Black Culture', 'Black Church', 'Black Thought', 'Black-on-Black' Crime, ...you get the idea.

These are the folks who 'know and love you.'

To answer you other question about personal ignorance...

No, but you are fostering the ignorance.

I do it to.

Why? Well...if I don't my childhood friends and relatives and ask, "Why you tawkin' white?'

These relative of mine by the way are often two generations, TWO GENERATIONS, behind me.

I absolutely DON'T GET IT!!!


PEACE

Jim Chester
I just thought about something else.

As children, we learn to speak by example. If our environment (home, television, school) supports ebonics, then doesn't it almost become inherent in us? And I know at school they teach 'correct' English, but kids learn from other kids too, and I guarantee you correct English is not being spoken at recess. Who's then to blame? We are taught the 'right' way to speak, but even before that, before we can travel without a stroller, we are hearing speech that can be classified as ebonics. It CAN be difficult to change. So again...if ebonics is a bad thing...who's then to blame?
Again, Sista Souljah, I don't see ANYTHING negative about Black English. When I said it's not standardized, I mean thatin the same sense that English itself wasn't standardized prior to the 1500s. There is no agreed upon standard for every point of grammar and syntax in black English. Depending on who the speaker is, even the future tense is different. I brought up the standardization issue to point out why it would not make an effective teaching tool. It needs to be standardized before children can be taught with it, otherwise a teacher would have to resort to his "opinion" on what black English is, and confuse the kids in the learning process. But that lack of standardization doesn't make the dialect itself negative. The dialect is viable. White South Africans get to call their dialect of Dutch a whole new language; "Afrikaans," even though it's much closer to Dutch than Black English is to Standard American English. We should not disparage our cultural expressions unless there's something inherently negative or harmful about them.

Those who see it as a negative have issues generally, and don't really understand. If there's anything negative, it's when a person is unable to express himself in more standard English. Any of these whites and Latinos you claim speak Black English got it from imitating black people, or being raised around them. I suspect you're confusing "Black English" with just plain substandard speech, which is incorrect.

Jame Chester, if it makes you feel better, call it African-American English. Black English is just easier to say.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Again, Sista Souljah, I don't see ANYTHING negative about Black English. Those who see it as a negative have issues generally, and don't really understand. If there's anything negative, it's when a person is unable to express himself in more standard English. Any of these whites and Latinos you claim speak Black English got it from imitating black people, or being raised around them. I suspect you're confusing "Black English" with just plain substandard speech, which is incorrect.

Jame Chester, if it makes you feel better, call it African-American English. Black English is just easier to say.


No, I'm not saying that I think it's negative. Like I said, I speak it, and I speak standard English. I'm using other people's opinions as example. If THEY believe it's negative, what sense does it make for THEM to use the term 'Black English' and identify with it? I don't like associating myself with that which is IMO negative, do you?

I know those other people are imitating. We ARE the most often imitated when it comes to whatever they may classify as hip-hopish. It's popular and catchy. Ebonics is the language of modern hip hop so it only makes sense that they adopt it like they've adopted everything else and claimed it as their own.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Aw c'mon Negro apologists. Ebonics is ignorant folks speaking ignorantly! Calling Ebonics a dialect (and thereby giving it some kind of cultural authenticity) is like calling what Vanilla Ice did rap. nono

Seriously, what do you say to those who say that Ebonics is merely a bastardization of the English language and that as long as we live in this land, to prosper, we must speak their langauage and master their ways? Please note - that argument says nothing about forgetting or subordinating our own culture. Speaking the King's English might be considered a tactic to greater achievement in America.

Thoughts?

___________________________________________

I think people are just a little too quick to judge "Ebonics" because it was coined by an African American linguist; we have been under the microscope so long that we have began to hold the microscope to ourselves----easily critical of ANYTHING of Black origin, just as our oppressors are.
If explaining AfricanAmerican language, slang, and dialects, which is the only thing that Ebonics is, or if so-call speaking "Ebonics" or "Black" is the bastardization of the English language, thenAmerican English is its own type of "Ebonics" and it is the bastardization of the English (English) language----(which I am sure that English speaking Europeans probably believe anyway)
Is there so much controversy, disagreement, disdain for American English since it has done the same thing to the "English" language as Ebonics explains has been done to the 'American' English language?
Jame Chester, if it makes you feel better, call it African-American English. Black English is just easier to say.---Vox

Thanks for the offer of help.

I don't need it however. I was answering a question if you read the post, more closely.

Ebonics works fine.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
quote:
plus, how will that bs factor in the educational and employment consideration(s) process.



** I just love asking questions that have no answers...it shows the flaws inherent in certain ways of thinking......
Kevin, I think the reason your point has gotten no replies is because we all agree with you here. But I think the people who were advancing this "code-switching" teaching process believe that it will IMPROVE these kids' chances later on, because by "recognizing" the "language barrier" these kids suffer from and teaching with it in mind, they learn better, including learning standard English better.

Of course, for the reasons already stated, they are clearly wrong! But that's how such people would respond to you.
I guess I'm straying off topic a little here, but...I will anyway Smile

While English seems to have become the global language, as 'we' become more global in our communications and travel, I think it will evolve to include even more words from different languages and cultures.

That's one theme touched on briefly in the film Code 46... where English is 'peppered' with 'Salaam', and the frequent spanish word. I definitely see that happening more and more. Man, just in my lifetime (Geesh, am I sounding old, lol !!???? Eek ) I've seen so many words disappear forever, and either be replaced by a new more informal/hip version. Then there are all the rap and new technology words, and what I call 'short-cut' words that grew out of SMS texting, email and chat forums, etc.

I like to muck around and make words up too... I've replaced the expression attention span with attention scan. Coz that is all most people do these days is scan, rather than read. Everyone is so busy and there's so much info to take in. And there are so many more ways to read and receive communications these days.

Anyway, I find it really exciting that language is constantly flexing and changing - much as I do love the challenge of some of those tricky, difficult to spell 'old-fashioned' words. If the world does become as generic and 'samey' as all the sci-fi pics predict, then it will be all the cultural twists on vernacular that keep it vibrant and exciting.
quote:
Originally posted by SistahSouljah:
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
I don't see ANYTHING negative about Black English. Those who see it as a negative have issues generally, and don't really understand. If there's anything negative, it's when a person is unable to express himself in more standard English. Any of these whites and Latinos you claim speak Black English got it from imitating black people, or being raised around them. I suspect you're confusing "Black English" with just plain substandard speech, which is incorrect.


If THEY believe it's negative, what sense does it make for THEM to use the term 'Black English' and identify with it? I don't like associating myself with that which is IMO negative, do you?

I know those other people are imitating. We ARE the most often imitated when it comes to whatever they may classify as hip-hopish. It's popular and catchy. Ebonics is the language of modern hip hop so it only makes sense that they adopt it like they've adopted everything else and claimed it as their own.


Yeah, hip hop language is imitated by whites coz they think it is COOL - cultural capital. So it is 'borrowed' for that reason. OK, yes, stolen. I'm not sure whether that movtive makes it any better, ie. a compliment or not. I just see it as strangely irrelevant for white people to speak ebonics, beyond it being 'fashionable'. It's mainly the under 20's here who've adopted the hip hop lifestyle vernacular and the odd media puppy who wants to sound 'on it' and uses it like a Hipness Visa.

I was on the train a few weeks back with a girlfriend and a bunch of teenage guys and girls 'rapper-would-bes' sat opposite with the caps, chains - how I HATE the word bling now, sorry, but it's everywhere in the media here! (Please tell me noone in the USA has used this word since the 1980s and white people have got it wrong!!?? Wink) Anyway, it was weirdo to watch these young white guys pretending to be black and not even knowing that. But they are young and just see it as a fashion - or maybe a statement - who knows.
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quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Kevin, I think the reason your point has gotten no replies is because we all agree with you here. But I think the people who were advancing this "code-switching" teaching process believe that it will IMPROVE these kids' chances later on, because by "recognizing" the "language barrier" these kids suffer from and teaching with it in mind, they learn better, including learning standard English better.

Of course, for the reasons already stated, they are clearly wrong! But that's how such people would respond to you.



*Thanks Vox,

I try to get input on the way I think from other progressive minded blacks.....and i try to research also as a way to normalize myself relatively speaking and make sure i'm not sounding like a damn fool and impressed with myself at the same time.....which i'm not impressed at all....but I still worry about the damn fool part...... Big Grin
What exactly are we talking about in this thread when we refer to "Ebonics?" I've always considered it to be the grammatically-challenged, mangled English spoken primarily by American Blacks, something completely separate from "Black slang and mannerisms" (i.e. referring to each other as brotha/sista, finger snappin', neck rollin', "talk to da hand!" etc.).

There is a way that I speak with Black people that I do not with white people. And it does not include phrases like "I be going", "eating skrimps" etc. I fully embrace this way that Black people have of communicating with each other. Ebonics, I'm not enthusiatic about at all.

I looked up Ebonics on wikipedia and apparently there's been a lot of work done to pinpoint the grammar and pronunciation rules of Ebonics. (Click here for history and grammar rules.) After reading the entry, I can see how teachers might use it as a tool for better understanding how to communicate with some of their students, but I still think it's a piss-poor idea to actually teach it in schools.
quote:
"eating skrimps"
---Frenchy

Am I glad I was breathng out when I read that.

I especially like the person sitting in a loud restaurant ordering 'scrimp scampi'.

Aah, it good for the soul.

This MUST be a brain wiring problem like 'flied lice.'

PEACE

Jim Chester
Wikipedia.... Smart thinking Frenchy tfro
interesting reading and good to note some references to follow up. Thanks! So that's where 'honky' comes from - I only ever heard it in 1960-70's Brit comedies. Wink
Also, I now I understand that ebonics and slang are two different things.
I would like to challenge everyone on this board to re-learn basic English grammar...

I have done so and have noticed that most people (black or white) do not speak proper English (even in business settings)...

For example; I think the main problem w/ English spelling and the subsequent dearth of correct spelling; is the fact that the English alphabet has 28 letters to represent the more than 50 sounds in the English language...

Here is an example of English "spelling" that has always baffled me...

The spelling of the word "Wednesday"...

Pronounced "winz' day..

Wednes=Winz?
Wednes=Winz?---blaqfist

For the same reason 'bow' shoots arrows, and'bow' is the front of a boat, OR bending at the waist.

English does not make sense.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by blaqfist:
Here is an example of English "spelling" that has always baffled me...

The spelling of the word "Wednesday"...

Pronounced "winz' day..

Wednes=Winz?
I was in a room w/some people and one of the women (who happened to be white) stated that she hated Jamaican patwa. Her reasoning was that it was "improper english". One of the others in the room (who happened to be Black) stated that english was improper Latin...

English is a mish mash of a bunch of different lingos...
quote:
The spelling of the word "Wednesday"...

Pronounced "winz' day..

Wednes=Winz?


Confused I've never heard anyone pronounce it that way. I say it just like it's spelled (sounds like Wends-day).
Frenchy , besides the fact I think your lying bs, I have never heard the word Wednesday pronounced w/ 2 "d" sounds...

This goes back to your "theories" on the whole "Proud Southerner" thingy...

Just stating something just to be argumentative, which is what I think you are doing, is not good a argumentative "strategy"; primarily because it is very annoying...

But in regards to the pronunciation of the word Wednesday, I have provided linx that will help you out...

Encarta


Merriam-Webster

American Heritage


Most dictionaries include pronuciation keys that sometimes list as many as 45-50 sounds recorded in common english.
quote:
English is a mish mash of a bunch of different lingos


This is very true..
If you search the etymology (word origin/history) you will find that most (80-85%) of English words are borrowed from other languages...

Was'nt Gerge Bush famous for making the quote "The French have no word for entrepreneur"...

And entrepreneur is a French word! (wtf?)

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