How Black and White Styles of Communication Differ Modified for US-1 from an original presentation by Dr. Alan D. Desantis, University of Kentucky. www.uky.edu/~addesa01/documents/BlackLanguage101.ppt.
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How Black and White Styles of Communication Differ Modified for US-1 from an original presentation by Dr. Alan D. Desantis, University of Kentucky.
A Brief History of English (1) n 1) The British colonized North America –They brought the English language and its customs and settled the original 13 colonies along America’s Eastern Coast. n 2) The distances between the colonies created sub-dialects that are still heard today –New York vs. Boston vs. Appalachian “talk” –Cf. the American Tongues videotape –Differences in accent, pace, vocabulary, etc. n 3)One of the most distinctive U.S. dialects is Black English
A Brief History of English (2) n 4) Over time, Black English developed its own vocabulary, pronunciation, grammatical rules, nonverbal cues, dress, walk, and distinctive speech culture. n 5) American dialects have different status –Since political and economic power was centered in the Northeast, the way those people spoke became “Standard” English
A Brief History of English (3) 6) The Problem : Those who spoke differently were stigmatized by the majority speakers. Thus the Southern, Appalachian and Black dialects, among others, were considered to be “bad” English. n 7) Most people know little about the Black Dialect, which is also known as Black English, Ebonics, AAVE and BEV, among others.
Communication Differences n 1) BE is Different from SAE Black English has its own specific rules for 1) pronunciation (ax [ask], spoze), 2) vocabulary, 3) syntax, 4) accent, and 5) grammar (“are = be”) BE is not a bastardized version of SAE; it is its own linguistic form with its own rules of “appropriateness.” However, non- blacks often view BE as being uneducated and unrefined, and sometimes even threatening. There is frequent misunderstanding, even conflict, when BE and SAE speakers do not understand their different modes of speaking and acting.
Communication Differences n 2) Call and Response Communication –Traced back to Africa –The black church, jazz, movies, clubs, talk Cf. the Apollo theater in Harlem, black churches (highly interactive), dance floor chanting, interpersonal exchanges (overlapping) –Blacks see SAE as uninvolved and removed –Whites see BE as loud, aggressive and impolite
Communication Differences n 3) BE Reflects a Personal “Style” –A) BE speakers desire an individual style automobiles (personalized), sports celebration (Ali to Deon), dress, names (Tashaun vs. Bob), dress modes –B) The style differentiates BE speakers from the speech and behavior norms of white culture –Whites regard BE as showing off, cockiness, not being a team player (cf. Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley, etc.) –Blacks regard SAE behavior as boring and conformist
Communication Differences n 4) BE Differs From SAE Emotionally – Blacks are more animated and expressive Anger & joy are openly expressed – For whites, being rational means to be calm and quiet White culture separates mind and emotion, and masks one’s true feelings – Whites see animated black behavior as less rational, unrefined and childish – Blacks regard white ‘rationality’ as cold, dispassionate, and unemotional
Communication Differences n 5) The Importance of Rhythm in BEV –“Rhythm/groove permeates everything” Walking, dancing, worshipping, Black step shows, marching bands, cheerleading Gospel, blues, R&B, jazz, rock, and rap all derived from only 12% of the U.S. population Research shows that “black talk” is more rhythmic and syncopated than white talk (there is a groove) –Whites sense BE speech to be “out of sync” –Blacks sense SAE speech to be “out of sync”
Communication Differences n 6) BE vocabulary is more dynamic –White vocabulary is more stable over time –Black language is more dynamic –Why? BE language illustrates personal style Whites appropriate BE, and thus force BE to keep changing in order to remain more “individualistic” BE language is fun, not just a tool
Communication Differences n 7) BE Nonverbal Cues Are Different –Proxemics — Closer space –Eye Contact — Reversed Greater while talking, less while listening –Gestures — Greater use of body Handshakes, body movement, walk, etc... –Touch — Higher touch culture (with each other) –Volume of Speech — Loud = Honest n Whites sense BE as too emotional and child-like n Blacks sense SAE as cold, distant and non-feeling
Communication Differences n 8) The Playful Use of Language in BE –Playin’ Dozens, Signifying, Dissing, Dogin’ SAE culture sees language as a stable tool –One strives to speak clearly, precisely, consistently Black culture see language as a dynamic art –One strives to speak creatively & imaginatively –BE illustrates “style,” “rhythm,” and “vocabulary” –Whites often feel insulted (who’s your Daddy?) or confused when they hear BE –Blacks feel SAE is boring, includes no feeling or fun or humor (The End)