Department of LanguagesPUC Minas - Sociolinguistics/ DialectologyProf. Rodrigo Pelegrini HonoratoEnfoque Letras
How it all started…Back in the dates - Migration from England to the USA, Slaveholders, Uncle Toms, Africans, skin color (yellow bone, red bone), lack of reading and writing;
African American Vernacular English –(AAVE) AAVE is colloquially known as Ebonics, which is a portmanteau / combination of “Ebony” and “Phonics” also called Black English, Black Vernacular, or Black English Vernacular (BEV); It has pronunciation characteristics in common with various West African languages, Creole, and British English.
Warm-upIs there a specific grammar?Is BEV “incorrect”, “inappropriate”, or “sloppy”?Do black people linguistically suffer because of it?Is it accepted in the Business world?
Warm-up What is slang? How much slang does Ebonics have? How is slang used?/What is it for? (DEA/FBI) Does every single black person speak BEV? Is it very different from Mainstream English/ Standard English? Are African Americans bilingual? “Code switch proposed by Garrard McClendon.
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE1. Reduction of a word-final consonantHand = Han’ About = ‘BouPassed = pas’ Perfect = Perfec’Desk = des’ Right = Righ’Friend = frien’ Left = lef’
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE2. Deletion of word-final single consonant.Cat = ca’ chat = cha’Vet = ve’ Get = gi’That = da’ Shit = shi’
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE3. Realization of final “ng” as “n” in gerunds:Walking = walkin’Talking = talkin’Mc Donalds’ slogan = I’m lovin’ it!
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE4. Realization of voiceless “th” as “t” or “f” or “v”:Nothing = nuttin’, nu’in, nuffin’Thin = tinKeith = KeifDeath = Deaf*Brother = Brover
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE5. Realization of voiced“th” as “d”:That = da’Brother = broda, bro’, bruh.The = da (50 Cent – In da Club)This = dis
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE6. Realization of “thr” sequence to “th”:Threw = thewThreaten = thwetenI’m throwed! = I’m thowed!(I’m fresh,I’m cool = I’m clean = No stain on me)
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE7. Deletion or vocalization of “r” after a vowel: It also happens in British English.Sister = sistuh, sis’ Water = watahGangster = gangsta For sure = fo’ sho’ (Fo’ shizzle!)Your = yo’ Open the door! = open da do’!
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE8. Deletion of unstressed initial “a”About = ‘bou(t) “Cuz dey kno’ ‘bout dat, hataz bettah chill plus I’m packin’ somn dat dey classify as steal...” by TRAEAfraid = ‘frai (d)’Among = ‘mong
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE9. Swap “ai” for “ah” such as in:I’m = “ah’m”Time = t”ah”mMy car= mah ca:While = wh’ah’le“I’m hot cuz I’m fly, you ain’t cuz ya not.” by MIMS
Pronunciation Features ofAAVE10. Deletion or reduction of the sound“v” in words ended in –”ve”:Love = luvI love you = I lu’ ya!I believe in God = “Ah” belie’ in Go’.They deserved it = Dey deser’d it.
Grammatical Features In AAVE or colloquially Ebonics, the verb “be” is often not included. See some examples: Ebonics Standard English He all right He is all right She at home now She is at home now Where you at? Where are you? He workin` He is working
Grammatical Features The use of the verb “be”, in Ebonics, is simplified to “be”, “was”, “wuz” or “is”, for all persons. Ebonics Standard English I be here everyday I am here everyday She my homegirl She is my close friend/ girlfriend We was here yesterday We were here yesterday You my homeboy You are my best friend
Grammatical Features (Song)“Nigga you’s a window shopperMad at me, I think I know whyNigga yous a window shopperIn the jewelery sto’, looking at shit you cant buyNigga yous a window shopperIn the dealership, trynna get a test-driveNigga yous a window shopperMad as fuck when ya see me ride by” 50 Cent – Window shopper
Some Slang Terms in AAVEMan, you nuts! I do mah thang!She my sis! How ya doin’?He my bro! How ya been?Who you?Where ya stay? What’s poppin’?What’cha gon’ do tonight? What’s crackin’ ?“Dont’cha wish yo Wuz gud?girlfriend wuz hot like Fo sho! = Fo shizzleme?” by Pussy Cat Dolls What it is yo’?She bad! = Smokin’ hot! What up? = Wussap?Smoke show!She badder! Sup?She da baddast! What it do? (Houston,TX)Whoa, dat’s a smoke show! Lemme git back to daDon’t pay’em any mind! grind!Dat’s what she said! Ya got chris-browned?
Negative Sentences (DoubleNegative) I aint step on no line. = I didn’t step on any line I aint belie’ed what she said, man. = I did not believe in what she said. I aint seen nobody. = I have not seen anybody. I aint see nu’in = I didn’t see anything I ain’t no liar = I am not a liar. I ain’t got no cheddar = I don`t have any money
Grammatical Features (Song) Aint no mountain high Aint no valley low Aint no river wide enough, baby If you need me call me no matter where you are, no matter how far (dont worry baby) just call out my name. Ill be there in a hurry You don’t need to worry Cause baby there Aint no mountain high enough Aint no valley low enough Aint no river wide enough To keep me from getting to you babe By Marvin Gaye
Immediate Future “Be + going to” is generally replaced by other terms such as: 1. Finna (about to) – I finna hit the mall. 2.Fixin’ to – I’m fixin’ to go home! 3. I’mma - I’mma do somn now. I’mma call ya later! 4. Fittin’ to – What’cha fittin’ to do homie? 5. Gon’ – She gon’ be here in a blink of an eye.
Challenge – Reading in Ebonics What yall up 2? Damn it! I been lookin fo dat jawb fo a long tahme. Whatcha think we shoo b doin bout dat shit? What I can letcha kno bah now is dat I applied fo it. I aint no snitch but I needa keep on stackin up da dough, ya knowmsayin? I finna jet cuz ya kno I gotta flip a bird 2nite so I finna git da slab ready, nahImean? Damn, peep dis shit out nigga, a car fulla white girls to be taken to dat hood where ya smoked dat fuckin punk. Whattama tell ya is dat aint nobody gon put da hands on mah doja, ya heard? Imma bus da goddamn cap on dey ass if dey fuckin jump at it, aaight. Lemme head out cuz five-oh bout to show up!
Sleep on it!“Black English is not all slang, but all black slang is Black English.”
Reference Books Akmajian, Demers and Harnish - LINGUISTICS An Introduction to Language and Communication – Second Edition (315-320) Cambridge University Press, University of Arizona LABOV, William – Introduction to African American and Latino English – (122-145) University of Pennsylvania LABOV, ASH and BOBERG – Atlas of North American English - Department of Sociolinguistics/ University of Pennsylvania
Keep it Throwed!“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”“Da limits o’ mah language mean da limits o’ mah world.” * Ludwig Wittgestein