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David Phelps

on 22 April 2013

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Transcript of Ebonics

The Language War Ebonics and Discrimination The Real Issue The Short Answer:
Yes. Yes it is. On the Internet In Employment Code-Switching What is Ebonics? Despite what many people believe Ebonics is a language which evolved from a pidgen/creole hybridization into its current state. Code-switching is the ability to transition between languages/dialects to fit a given situation. When most people refer to code-switching with Ebonics, they mean between Ebonics and Standard American English. There is too much debate about whether or not Ebonics is a language or a dialect when it is proven to be a language separate from English because it's grammar and syntax are borrowed from Niger-Congo language families more so than Germanic language families I was interested in whether or not Ebonics is actually discriminated against, as a language, in the same way that gender or race is discriminated against. Hard-handed responses to Ebonics, such as Leon Todd Jr.’s article in which he states that “[t]reating the problem [Ebonics] as if it were simply a dialect that is to be tolerated will surely cripple the child’s ability to learn effectively in the classroom… making the child unfit for later career development in a post modern information society,” far outnumber those which have a positive or even accepting stance (Todd Jr. 178) Todd Jr. even goes so far as to say that Ebonics is a disability for children and although I'm not exactly the most read in this area of study I don't think a language has even been described as a learning disability. This arises out of the common misconception that Ebonics (often called Black English or African American [Vernacular] English) is related to English beyond borrowing words. Just like anything else that separates people into different social groups, Ebonics is widely parodied on the Internet where users can mock it in a pubic forum and still hide behind anonymity. “[W]ithin almost all variables, the dialect used and the race of the person who is speaking can significantly alter ratings of person perception” whether for better or for worse (Billings 77). The stereotypes about the language a person speaks do not necessarily extend to race, as proven in another study in which the researcher “found that the ethnicity of the speaker did not effect credibility; Rather, the dialect of the speaker was the determining factor in participant assessments. Both White and Black speakers of standard dialect were deemed competent, whereas both White and Black speakers of substandard dialect were not” (Billings 70-17). Generally, those making fun of Ebonics in this context are not educated about what it actually is. Novelty effect
More trustworthy
Race and language both
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