Hooked On Ebonics Research Paper

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Contemporary Use of Ebonics “At its most literal level, Ebonics simply means ‘black speech,’” it is a blend of the words ebony, black, and phonics, sounds (Rickford). This term was originally used to refer to the language of all people who descended from enslaved Africans, particularly from West Africa, the Caribbean, and North American. Though Ebonics became recognized widely recognized in December 1996 when the Oakland California School Board recognized it as the primary language of their African American students (Baron), it was first created in 1973 by a group of black scholars who wanted to avoid the negative connotations of other terms like “Nonstandard Negro English.” It is also called African American Vernacular English (AAVE), African…show more content…
Ebonics is not slang. In linguists John Rickford’s article title “Hooked on Ebonics,” Rickford negates the idea that teachers should not learn it or teach it to students. Rickford describes Ebonics as “complex” and draws parallels between Ebonics and other American dialects to Mandarin and Cantonese, both Chinese dialects. Although they are not mutually intelligible, they are “held together by an army and a navy and share a common writing system as well as a common cultural definition,”…show more content…
Ebonics is a unique dialect, a way of speaking, which may or may not use slang itself. In contrast, slang is not a dialect, it refers specific words, not entire grouping of words and phrases structured by syntax rules, or language or dialect derived from a cultural history. Though linguists are divided on where Ebonics originates, they agree that it is derived from some previous language system. Some draw on its English origins, claiming that much of its pronunciation and grammar could have been learned from standard dialects of English indentured slaves with whom African slaves interacted. Others emphasize Ebonics African origins, noting that the language reflects West African language systems (Rickford). Wherever its origins may be, linguists have come to the conclusion that it is a legitimate form of speech, and not simply slang. Those who continue to believe it is slang ignore the evidence negating this claim. Many view distinctive, systematic Ebonic pronunciations as random “errors,” (Rickford). Ebonics speakers produce sentences without present tense is and are, but these words are not completely omitted from the vocabulary. Also, Ebonics speaker’s use of the “to be” verb is not “invariant,” and much like other words used in AAVE, it’s meaning is dynamic, and

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