Linguistic Аspects of Black English

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Theme: Linguistic Аspects of Black English.

Contents

Introduction: ………………………………………………………………...3

Chapter I. Historical Review of Black English……………………………...8

1. The Origin of Black English………………………………………….…. 8

2. Development of Pidgin and Creole ……………………………………..12

Chapter II. Development of the U.S. Black English……………………….17

1. Differences of Black English and Standard English

British English and British Black English…………………………………17

2. African American Vernacular English and its use in teaching process...24

Chapter III. Linguistic Aspects of Black English………………………….32

1. Phonetic peculiarities …………………………………………………..32

2. Grammar peculiarities………………………………………………....36

3. Lexical peculiarities……………………………………….……….…..49

Conclusion: ………………………………………………………………54

Bibliography: ………………………………………………………….…56


Introduction.

 

Topicality.

The topic of Black English is very actual in terms of sociolinguistics and language interaction development in racial relations and ethnic cultures. Through understanding Linguistic Aspects of Black English we can observe peculiarities of language development and culture of people.

Aim.

The aim of this work is to research the linguistic aspects of Black English language.

Objectives of the paper are:

- to analyze the origin of Black English.

- to analyze the development of Pidgin and Creole.

- to consider differences between Black English Standard English

British English and British Black English.

- to investigate the African American Vernacular English and its use in

teaching process.

 - to research the phonetic peculiarities of B.E.

- to investigate the grammar peculiarities of B.E.

- to consider the lexical peculiarities of B.E.

Black English is a social dialect of American English originated and formed as a result of language interaction in the process of historical development.

The topic of the diploma work is to study Black English as a sociolect of American variant of English language analyze its linguistics aspects especially phonetic grammatic lexical formed in the process of historical development. The historic development and linguistics characteristics make up the core content of work. Black English is the communicative and social system originally created at the intersection of three dimensions – social class ethnic and territorial

Black English is a term going back to 1969. It is used almost exclusively as the name for a dialect of American English spoken by many black Americans.

Black English is a variety of English spoken in America and it is the subject of many controversies the problem being that of whether considering it a language a dialect or simply a slang talk. This language variety also known a Ebonics is nearly as old as Standard American English but it has often been misinterpreted as defective it has never been standardized and has always had lower status compared to Standard American English.

From the 1960’s to the present African American English has increasingly become also acceptable term for Black English and the corresponding official name for the language variety used by Africans Americans is thus African American English or African American Vernacular English (AAVE).(15 65)

Black English Vernacular (BEV) as coined by William Labov in 1972 defines the variety American English spoken by Black People. Its pronunciation is in some respects common to Southern American English which is spoken by many African Americans in the United States and by many non-African American.

Ebonics is a recent and controversial neologism coined by Robert L. Williams during a 1973 conference in St. Louis Missouri “cognitive and Language Development of the Black Child”. It is a blend of ebony (a synonym for black that lacks its pejorative connotations) and phonics (pertaining to speech sounds) and by definition it refers specifically to an African-language-based Creole (from an earlier pidgin) that has been relexified by borrowing from English resulting in what African Americans now speak in the United States.(34 54)

Black English is complex controversial and only partly understood. Records of the early speech forms are sparse. It is unclear how much influence black speech has had on the pronunciation of southern whites; according to some linguists generation of close contact resulted in the families of the slaves owners picking up some of the speech habits of their servants which gradually developed into the distinctive southern ‘drawl’. Slave labor in the south gave birth to diverse linguistic norms; former indentured servants from all parts of the British Isles who often became overseers on plantations variously influenced the foundation of Black English. First the industrial revolution then the Civil War disrupted slavery and promoted African-American migration within the U.S. s a result of which slave dialects were transplanted from Southern plantation to the factories of the North and Midwest. There was a widespread exodus to the industrial cities of the northern states and black culture became known throughout the country for its music and dance.

Many historical events have had an effect on Black English. One of this was the early use of English-based pidgins and creoles among slave populations as almost all Africans originally were brought to the United States as slaves. Pidgin is a variety of a language which developed for some practical purpose such as trading among groups of people who did not know each other’s language. Creole is a pidgin which has become the first language of a social community. (17 124)

Black English was investigated in the USA by D. Crystal (“The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language ” ” English Language”) by C. Baugh and T.Cable (“History of the English Language”) in Russia by R.V. Reznic T.S. Sookina (“A History of The English Language”) by A.D. Schweitzer (“The Social Differentiation of English in The USA.”) in Kazakhstan by F.S.Duisebayeva (“ Linguistics Aspects of Black English”) but there are no monographic research of B.E. in our country. ( 12 8 9 13 1 10)

Theoretical base of research are comprised by the works of D.Crystal C.Baugh and T.Cable A.D.Schweitzer F.S. Duisebayeva and etc.

Theoretical significance.

The investigation of Black English Language and its linguistic aspects contribute for a further development of sociolinguistics theory American studies etc.

The practical significance.

This material can be used as teaching manual in the process of teaching English Language Lexicology History of the English language Area studies.

Methods of research.

The following methods are used in the paper: comparative descriptive analytical.

The structure of work.

The diploma work consists of an introduction three chapters conclusion and bibliography.

The introduction covers topicality aim objectives and theoretical base of research theoretical significance the practical significance and methods of research and the structure of work.

Chapter I. Development of Black English presents historical review of Black English analyses of the origin of Black English the development of Pidgin and Creole.

Chapter II. Development of the U.S. Black English considers differences of Black English and Standard English British English and British Black English A.A.V.E. and its use in teaching process.

Chapter III. Linguistic aspects of B.E analyses the phonetic grammar lexical peculiarities of B.E.

Conclusion present the results of the investigation.

Bibliography covers 39 units of materials used in the diploma paper.


Chapter I. Historical review of B.E.

 

1. The Origin of Black English.

According to J.L. Dillard some 80% of black Americans speak the Black English and he and many commentators stress its African origins. The history of Black English in the United States is complex controversial and only partly understood. Black English is a term going back only to 1969. It is used almost exclusively as the name for a dialect for American English spoken by many black Americans. Records of the early speech forms are sparse. It is unclear how much influence black speech has had on the pronunciation of southern whites; according to some linguists generation of close contact resulted in the families of the slaves owners picking up some of the speech habits of their servants which gradually developed into the distinctive southern ‘drawl’. (33 23)

 From the early 17-th century ships from Europe traveled to the West African coast where they exchanged cheap good for black slaves. The slaves were shipped in barbarous conditions to the Caribbean islands and the American coast where they were in tern exchanged for such commodities as sugar rum and molasses. The ships then returned to England completing an ‘Atlantic triangle’ of journeys and the process began again. The first 20 African slaves arrived in Virginia on a Dutch ship in 1619. Britain and the United States had outlawed the slave trade by the American Revolution (1776) their numbers had grown to half a million and there were over 4 million by the time slavery was abolished at the end of the United States Civil War (1865).

The policy of the slave-trades was to bring people of different language backgrounds together in the ships to make it difficult for the groups to plot rebellion. The result was the growth of several pidgin forms of communication and in particular a pidgin between the slavers and the sailors many of whom spoke English.

The black slaves who were arriving in Jamestown Va. In 1619. Manhattan Island in 1635 and Massachusetts in 1638 have used the Afro- European varieties for communication among themselves. In 1692 justice Hathorne recorded Tituba an African slave from the island of Barbados in the British West Indies speaking in the pidgin of the slaves. Tituba was quoted as saying “He tell me he God ” The words of the phrase are English but the structure and grammar of the phrase are congruous with that pf the West African languages that Smitherman identifies. (32 8)

During the early years of American settlement a highly distinctive form of English was emerging in the island of the West Indies and the Southern part of the mainland spoken by the incoming black population. The emergence of slave trade was a consequence of the important of African slaves to work on the sugar plantations a practice started by the Spanish in 1517.

First the industrial revolution then the Civil War disrupted slavery and promoted African-American migration within the U.S. s a result of which slave dialects were transplanted from Southern plantation to the factories of the North and Midwest. Slave labor in the south gave birth to diverse linguistic norms; former indentured servants from all parts of the British Isles who often became overseers on plantations variously influenced the foundation of Black English. There was a widespread exodus to the industrial cities of the northern states and black culture became known throughout the country for its music and dance. (15 36). Black English was born of slavery between the late XVI c.- early XVII c. and middle XIX c. and followed black migration from the southern states to racially isolated ghettos throughout the United States.

Slave labor in the south gave birth to diverse linguistic norms; former indentured servants from all parts of the British Isles who often became overseers on plantations variously influenced the foundation of B.E.V. first the industrial revolution the Civil War disrupted slavery and promoted African American migration within the United States as a result of which slave dialects were transplanted from Southern plantation to the factories of the North and Midwest. An artifact not of race but of a speech community Black English originated as a pidgin (a simplified language used in a commercial context to facilitate communication among speakers of different languages) that the slaves coming from a variety of language backgrounds used to communicate among themselves.

In the XVIII century more records of the speech of slaves and the representations of their speech were produced. In fact J.L. Dillard claims that “By 1715 there clearly was an African Pidgin English known on a worldwide scale. In 1744 an ad in The New York Evening Post read: “Ran away … a new African Fellow named Prince he can’t scarce speak a Word of English.” In 1760 an ad in the North Carolina Gazette read: “Ran away from the Subscriber African Born speaks bad English. In 1734 the Philadelphia American Weekly Mercury read: “Ran away …; he’s Pennsylvanian born and speaks good English.” (33 16)

Quotations from Black English speakers became abundant in the records of Northern states by about 1750 nearly half a century before the earliest records in the Southern colonies were found in Charleston S.C. (10 1)

Black characters made their way into show business in 1777 with the comical Trial of Atticus before Justice Beau for Rape. In this farcical production "one of our neighbor's " says "Yes Maser he tell me that Atticus he went to bus 'em one day and a shilde cry and so he let 'em alon". Much like Tituba's statement the statements above use English vocabulary yet the structure and grammar of the statements well in keeping with that of the West African Languages.

Other informative evidence in tracing the development of Black English lies in newspaper ads reporting runaway slaves. In locating and identifying a runaway slave the slaves' speech played an instrumental role. It is important to remember that the slave trade was not outlawed until 1808 and even then it was not strictly adhered to. Smitherman reports that "As late as 1858 over 400 slaves were brought direct from Africa to Georgia". Consequently there was a constant influx of Africans who spoke no English at all. This produced a community of people with a broad array of mastery of Black English and even Standard English. (32 84)

 This is made clear when we see the newspaper ads that reported runaway slaves. This stratification of language is vital in the development and the development of the perception of Black English if it is remembered that not all Blacks were slaves in Early America. Successful runaways were likely to be those who attained a relative mastery of Standard English. The mastery of Standard English would prove invaluable to a slave who had to travel a long distance across American soil to win his freedom. Further more early Black writers such as Frederick Douglass wrote in the Standard English of his time. A mastery of Standard English was also beneficial in passing as a free Black. In a very real and disturbing way Black English became the language of slavery and servitude. (35 212)

 During the Civil war period abolitionists made the speech of slaves know to all serious readers of that era. Writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Thomas Halliburton produced many works that indicated their knowledge of the existence of Black English.

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