26 April 2014


The article from John Rickford, in short, is about Ebonics. Ebonics basically means "black phonics," according to Rickford. Throughout the article, Rickford explains why some people feel Ebonics is not a language, but more so "lazy English." While linguist see the distinction between Ebonics and standard English. The claim of the article is the Ebonics is not standard English but it also not it's own language. Evidence to support this claim is on page 28 where Rickford says, "This is not permitted in Ebonics; the 'rules' of the dialect do not allow the deletion of the second consonants are either voiceless, as with 'st,' or voiced, as with 'nd.'...In short, the manner in which Ebonics differs from Standard English is highly ordered; it is no more lazy English than Italian is lazy Latin. This support the claim because where Italian is derived from Latin but has its own rules of how to properly speak the language, that is the case with Ebonics.

Dear Mr. John Rickford,
After reading your article, I believe I came up with an answer for your question as to why "linguists see the issue [of Ebonics] so differently from most other people." For starters, I believe it has to do with the fact that linguist study every aspect of Ebonics from the words used to how it's pronounced, where as other people do not. Linguists agree that Ebonics is not a separate language from English, but it is also noted that they do not believe it is simply "slang." In your article you mention that Ebonics has some form of grammar and "distinctive patterns of pronunciation." Since  most people have not studied Ebonics to the extent that linguists have, they will not particularly see the distinction between Ebonics and slang and Standard English. Being that linguists know and appreciate these differences, they are able to have a set argument on why or why not Ebonics is actually another language. But, what linguists need to understand is that people who do not study language will not pick up on the minor things that differentiates Ebonics, slang and Standard English, which is why they would prefer for Ebonics (slang in their minds) to not be used over Standard English.

Aliyah Allen

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