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What do YOU know about Ebonics? A 10 Question Survey given to 10 of my closest friends, relatives, and co-workers.

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Presentation on theme: "What do YOU know about Ebonics? A 10 Question Survey given to 10 of my closest friends, relatives, and co-workers."— Presentation transcript:

1 What do YOU know about Ebonics? A 10 Question Survey given to 10 of my closest friends, relatives, and co-workers.

2 Demographics Most of my survey takers were people in their 20’s, 30’s and my mother, who is in her 50’s. Below I have given a brief description of each person. 1- A Hispanic female law student, 22 years old (my younger sister) 2- A 27 year old Hispanic female attorney (friend) 3- A Hispanic female 29, mother of 2 who works in a hospital and lives in the UK (my older sister) 4- A 28 year old Hispanic female Advertising Executive. (friend) 5- A 29 year old Caucasian female elementary school teacher (friend) 6- A 30 year old Caucasian male who is a fitness instructor (boyfriend) 7- A 54 year old Hispanic/Italian female who works as a mitigation specialist for death penalty cases only (mother). 8- A 27 year old Irish male who has a high school degree and works in a factory (friend). 9- A 27 year old Hispanic female who works in the medical field (friend). 10- A 31 year old Hawaiian Female who works as a medical software trainer and whom is married to an African American male (co-worker).

3 The Questions Before beginning my survey, I had to do some research. My survey consisted of 10 questions and was made up of subjective and objective questions.

4 My Resources Center for Applied Linguistics. Dialects. Retrieved from Peregoy, S. & Boyle, B. (2008). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Rickford, J. (n.d.). What is Ebonics? Retrieved from Rubba, J. (1997). Ebonics: Q &A. Retrieved from

5 1. I am not completely sure what Ebonics is. True/False More than half of the people surveyed were not sure what Ebonics was.

6 2) Some people refer to Ebonics as Africanized English. True/False Although most people surveyed were unsure about what Ebonics is, 80% of people know it is referred to as Africanized English.

7 3. I believe only American Standard English should be spoken in a classroom setting. True/False 60% of people believe that only American Standard English should be spoken in a classroom setting.

8 4. African American English (AAE) is a regular, systematic language variety that contrasts with other dialects in terms of its grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. True/False Interestingly, most people surveyed do not see Ebonics as a regular, systemic language variety with grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary rules just like other dialects. When I shared that this question is TRUE with my survey takers, they were shocked!

9 5. Ebonics has been widely studied. True/False The survey takers were split 50/50 on whether or not Ebonics has been widely studied. The correct answer is TRUE. There has been extensive research into this dialect.

10 6. I believe that certain dialects carry more power and prestige than others. True/False Finally, they agree! 90% of survey takers agree that certain dialects carry more power and prestige than others. This is TRUE. The languages and dialects that conduct business globally and are part of the scholarly and scientific community hold the most power.

11 7. The term Ebonics was first termed in the: a) 1920 ’ s b) 1950 ’ s c) 1970 ’ s d) 1990 ’ s Although Ebonics was first termed in the 1970’s, most people that I surveyed thought it was termed as recently as the 1990’s.

12 8. Linguists agree that Ebonics cannot correctly be called 'bad English', 'slang', 'street talk', or any of the other labels that suggest that it is deficient or not a full-fledged linguistic system. True/False Ironically, although the majority of the people surveyed believe that only American Standard English should be spoken in the classroom, 60% still recognize that Ebonics cannot be called ‘bad English’ or ‘street talk’.

13 9. The method of studying language known as 'contrastive analysis' involves drawing students' attention to similarities and differences between Ebonics and Standard English. I believe it is crucial that teachers implement contrastive analysis in order to ensure the success of their students. True/False Considering that 60% of survey takers believe only Standard English should be spoken in the classroom, it makes sense that at least 60% (in this case 70%) would believe that teachers should point out the differences b/n Ebonics and Standard English to ensure the success of their students.

14 10. In 1996 the Oakland (CA) School Board recognized Ebonics as the 'primary' language of its majority African American students and resolved to take it into account in teaching them standard or academic English. Recognizing Ebonics as these students ’ primary language generated much controversy. True/False This answer is TRUE. The CA School Board did indeed declared Ebonics as the primary language of its majority African American students. It did this because they wanted to to use “African American English in teaching Standard English in the Oakland Schools” (CAL).

15 Conclusion I found this project very interesting and insightful. I knew little of Ebonics prior to my research. It is interesting to know that this dialect has been developing since the beginnings of slavery. I also was surprised to discover that Ebonics has been widely studied and even declared a language by a California school board. I do believe that Ebonics has a place in our world, therefore it has a place in our schools. One of my favorite authors, Zora Neale Hurston, writes in Ebonics and I believe it reflect the reality and uniqueness of the African American culture. With that said, I still feel strongly that American Standard English should be taught in our classrooms. Being that some dialects hold more power than others, it is necessary to teach this form of English to ensure that our students can remain competitive in the job market. Just like native language use for ELL’s should be maintained in the home, Ebonics can and should continue if it is part of an individual’s culture.


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