African American and Ebonics Essay
What if all of America spoke in Ebonics? “What up cuz” or “Holla at me. ” That would be crazy right? Sharice, Travis, Rickia, and I did a report on the evidence for the critical element of the Oakland school board proposal and the convention that temporary African American Vernacular Forms (AAV) of speaking show strong influence from West-African languages. The Oakland school board proposed to the state that the kids learning will be improved with the recognition and understanding of Ebonics.
My article came from the internet, and it is titled “A Case of Ebonics. ” Ebonics is a critical language, with powerful elements of a distinct language, spoken by many Americans of African descent, a language marked by a long and rich history. While most other languages are restricted to specific geographical regions, Ebonics is a way of speaking shared by a large percentage of African-Americans living everywhere in the United States. Ebonics has been branded as a poor form of Standard English.
Some think of it as lazy lips and lazy thinking. Because Ebonics held on to many leftover characteristics from West African languages, there has been debate as to whether it is a language of American English or another language altogether. Ebonics has a long history that began in Africa. It started when people from many different African villages were brought to American slave markets. The slave owners often purposely mixed the slaves by tribe so that they could not communicate directly in the language of a single tribe.
For them to communicate with each other, the slaves developed a pidgin language, a mixture of various African languages. Over the centuries, this early pidgin blended with aspects of “Standard English” to form “Black English” but it still has many of the features of its ancestor. That is, many of the unique forms of Ebonics can be identified as leftovers of West African languages. For example some researchers say that the word for cat in several African languages also means “man. ” For this reason our expression “cool cat” is derived from Ebonics.
Despite these differences, Ebonics is a language that fully serves the needs of its users. Its grammar is just as complicated as Standard English. It’s just a different grammar. The meaning of “He didn’t do nothing” is perfectly understood by all Ebonics speakers, and by standard English speakers as well. A man by the name of Ishmael Reed makes clear the use of Ebonics indicates neither a lack of education nor an inability to speak in other tongues: “You not gone make me give up Black English.
When you ask me to give up Black English you askin me to give up my soul. But for reasons of commerce, transportation, and hassle less mobility in everyday life, I will talk to 411 in the language both the operator and I can understand” (Lederer 4). I agree with Reed that everyone needs to learn and master Standard English to have the best chance to succeed in America. In certain contexts, someone (like a manager) might make a judgment about the way we black people talk. If we want to become successful we must learn Standard English.
I hope that the movement of correction for Ebonics movement will work against the widespread disrespect of the way most African-American youth talk. People should be less defensive about the language in which we live and move and maybe we can better position to employ both the Ebonics and the standard codes and to reap the full fruits of our American civilization. If people were less defensive about Ebonics maybe then we as people could associate Standard English with Ebonics. And with all of this we could reap the full fruits of our American civilization.
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