[stormingheaven] ebonics?

Arthur Pullman arthur_pullman at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 19 10:20:40 PDT 1999

> >"Ebonics" is a difficult issue, so let me try it.
> >
> >Unfortunately, stereotypes are partially true. A
> >language that develops in the absence of other
> >resources becomes an impoverished language in
> >certain ways. Ebonics has grown up primarily
> >among uneducated blacks, hence the effort to treat
> >it as a "full-blown" language is a little off the
> >mark. This is not to say anything about its
> >pronunciations or even about the value of people
> >who grew up learning to speak it, just that a
> >language that is basically confined to dealing
> >with basic life issues will probably have full
> >emotive complexity (nothing wrong with that) but
> >not necessarily full conceptual complexity.

true, if someone were to only be capable of speaking in one narrow dialect. However, most people can switch dialects, depending on what crowd they are on, and certain non-standard dialects can get you further in this society than others. I can promise you that people who communicate almost entirely in the Californian valley dialect with its limited range of words and reliance on gestures and intonation of voice to convey a lot of meanings, are able to progress through fairly high level universities because this has become the dialect of a lot of suburban upper middle class american teenagers.

In germany, which is the size of Montana, different regions have dialects which can be really difficult for people from other areas to understand, yet almost everyone can switch into regular newscaster high german when it's appropriate. But after the postwar period when dialects were kind of suppressed because anything relating to german nationalism wasn't popular, people started to deliberately try to preserve these local cultural nuances just because it would be so easy to lose it altogether . Christine

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