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Black English AAE, African American English AAVE, African American Vernacular English BVE, Black English Vernacular Ebonics (a popular term) A dialect.

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Presentation on theme: "Black English AAE, African American English AAVE, African American Vernacular English BVE, Black English Vernacular Ebonics (a popular term) A dialect."— Presentation transcript:

1 Black English AAE, African American English AAVE, African American Vernacular English BVE, Black English Vernacular Ebonics (a popular term) A dialect of English, or a decreolised language?

2 Black English http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~patrickp/AAVE.html (See also: http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~patrickp/lhr/ling uistichumanrights.htmhttp://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~patrickp/lhr/ling uistichumanrights.htm )

3 J.L Dillard: Black English

4 Wells III p.553 Black English Contradictory tests as to whether blacks can be identified by their speech at all. P.55 Chicagoans consistently identified voices of white southern college professors as uneducated rural blacks.

5 Black English Is it possible to identify race by speech? – only insofar as race can be identified by culture …. Wells 6.6.6 p.556: “Almost all of the following points were mentioned above in 6.5, the south. It may well be that any that were not should have been" - i.e. there is no racially defined Black pronunciation.

6 Black English Where there are geographically concentrated populations of blacks/whites, or socially stratified populations, the speech between the groups will vary. Impossible however to tell the difference between educated black/white doctors from the same area, or rural blac/white workers from the same area..

7 Black English HOWEVER there are linguistic survivals throughout the USA – –Scandinavian linguistic traits in Minesota/Dakota –German in Pennsylvania –Dutch in Hudson Valley –Remains of the ‘Irish accent’ Why then not Black? – “Culturally transmitted rather than racial" p555.

8 Black English Gullah is an English-based creole still spoken by a small black population on coastal and offshore South Carolina. –Thus the question arises of whether Black English can be the result of decreolisation of a creole continuum.

9 Gullah Gullah is an English-based creole still spoken by a small black population on coastal and offshore South Carolina. http://www.coastalguide.com/gullah/ http://www.knowitall.org/gullahnet/ (tales)http://www.knowitall.org/gullahnet/ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p hp?storyId=5283230

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12 Gullah verbs (from Wikipedia) The following sentences illustrate the basic verb tense and aspect system in Gullah: Uh he'p dem -- "I help them/I helped them" (Present/Past Tense) Uh bin he'p dem -- "I helped them" (Past Tense) Uh gwine he'p dem -- "I will help them" (Future Tense) Uh done he'p dem -- "I have helped them" (Perfect Tense) Uh duh he'p dem -- "I am helping them" (Present Progressive) Uh binnuh he'p dem -- "I was helping them" (Past Progressive)

13 These sentences illustrate African grammatical and syntactical influences in 19th century Gullah speech. Note the literal, word-for-word translations into English used here in order to show the influence of African sentence structure: Da' big dog, 'e bite'um -- "That big dog, it bit him" (Topicalization) Duh him cry out so -- "It is him cried out that way" (Front Focusing) Uh tell'um say da' dog fuh bite'um -- "I told him said that dog would bite him" (Dependent Clauses with "Say") De dog run, gone, bite'um -- "The dog ran, went, bit him" (Serial Verb Construction) Da' duh big big dog -- "That is big big dog" (Reduplication)

14 These sentences are examples of how Gullah was spoken in the 19th century: Uh gwine gone dey tomorruh."I will go there tomorrow.“ We blan ketch 'nuf cootuh dey."We always catch a lot of turtles there.“ Dem yent yeddy wuh oonuh say."They did not hear what you said.“ Dem chillun binnuh nyam all we rice."Those children were eating all our rice.“ 'E tell'um say 'e haffuh do'um."He told him that he had to do it.“ Duh him tell we say dem duh faa'muh."He's the one who told us that they are farmers.“ Alltwo dem 'ooman done fuh smaa't."Both those women are really smart.“ Enty duh dem shum dey?"Aren't they the ones who saw him there?"

15 Black English Similarities with creoles: Copular deletion (verb-adjective identity?) –John sick –John run –cf Tok Pisin em i sik, em i lap

16 Black English Similarities with creoles: Tense-marking optional; may be on only one verb in the sentence, or none (tense shown by context): The boy carried the dog dish to the house and put some dog food in it and put some water in it and bring it out and called his dog Dillard 41

17 Black English When the day begin to crack, the whole plantation break out with all kinds of noise, and you could tell what was going on by the kind of noise you hear. Dillard 41. The idea that this is historic present is disproved by "could" and "was".

18 Black English On the other hand aspect-marking is compulsory, while not in SE. ASPECTAFFIRMATIVENEGATIVE Point-of-time: (incidentally 90% past actions) + adverb of time: yesterday, last week, etc. He goHe ain go progressive action: (incidentally 90% prsent action) He goinHe ain goin NB This complexity is not the same as in creoles

19 Black English -in used the same in present or past: He stood there and he thinkin He got a glass of water in his hands and he drinkin some of it My teacher she said I passed on the skin of my teeth. My sisters and them up there talkin bout I should have stayed back

20 Black English She real skinny, and every time you see her she eatin Cheerios. -Loss of copula or no underlying copula?

21 Black English When speakers “fancify” their language and add a copula the 'wrong' standard copular is often used in BE: He am sleepin.

22 Single time progressive: He waitin for me right now He waitin for me right then NB not: *He waitin for me every night *He be waitin for me right now Black English

23 Negative: He ain waitin for me right now He don be waitin for me every night Black English

24 He workin when de boss come in ‘He started working when the boss came in’ He be workin when de boss come in ‘He was working when the boss came in’ (he was not expecting the boss). You makin sense, but you don be makin sense Black English

25 So there is syntactic evidence for a creole origin BUT not confined to Black Englsih in some ways unlike other creoles Black English


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