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Ebonics: The History and The Controversy

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Katie Pyle

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of Ebonics: The History and The Controversy

What is Ebonics? In 1973 the term was coined by combining ebony and phonics. This language system is found primarliy in the African American communities in urban areas and the South. The History The Controversy
*Sparked by Oakland school
district in California in 1996

*Due to low proficiency scores in
reading and writing of African
American students

*Media and the negativity

*The repercussions; present day Ebonics: The History and The Controversy in The Classroom

Andy Cavage, Kelsi Andrescavage, Katie Pyle Pros of Ebonics in the Classroom Cons of Ebonics in the Classroom Pros and Cons Dialectal Differences Examples SAE vs. Ebonics Differences in...
1. Phonetics
2. Semantics
3. Morphology
4. Syntax
/th/ is typically replaced with the /d/ sound at beginning of words
Dis: This Da: The
Final Consonant deletion of /r/ at the end of words
 Fo: For More: Mo

Final Consonant deletion of the words ending in multiple consonants
eatin’: eating  Bill : Build  Best: Bes PHONETIC SEMANTIC Meanings for certain words differ

Ebonics Crib= a house vs. SAE Crib= a baby’s bed
Ebonics Fixing=beginning vs. SAE Fixing=to repair SYNTAX MORPHOLOGY The syntactic structure of Ebonics is typically regarded as incorrect when following the rules of SAE

Deletion of the copula “be” and its variants or incorrect subject verb agreement using the copula is common
Ebonics “I walkin” vs. SAE: I am walking
Ebonics “We was walkin’” vs. SAE: We were walking”

Use of the double negative
Ebonics: “I ain’t never…” vs. SAE: I am never Deletion of past markers such as –ed
Ebonics: “Last night I cook dinner” vs. SAE: “Last night I cooked dinner”
Reduction of redundancy when using numbers, eliminate morpheme -s
Ebonics: “He got 2 car” vs. SAE: “He has 2 cars” Impact on Education These dialectal differences make the acquisition of Standard American English and reading skills difficult since by school age, they have already internalized the features & characteristics of Ebonics. EARLY
MISCONCEPTIONS "Ebonics is not its own dialect"
It is just...
* Lazy Speech
*Deficient Speech
*Speech of the uneducated *Preserving ones' culture/identity

*Promotion of diversity

*Bridging gap between home and school culture for African American students *Focus taken away from Standard American English


*Education for careers/future Another approach: Presenting SAE as "correct"

Psychologically damaging Conclusion Creole hypothesis Dialectal hypothesis The "dialectal hypothesis" asserts that Ebonics is a dialect of English The "creole hypothesis", asserts that Ebonics evolved out of a pidgin language that developed in West Africa as a result of the slave trade and commercial trade between Africans and Europeans during the 16th-19th centuries. Both of these theories contain truth!
1. Ebonics has some features that are also found in West African languages;
2. Some American English words (tote, yam and others) may well be borrowings from African languages
3. Ebonics shares many features with many dialects of English
4. The evolution of Ebonics since the end of the slave trade and the migration of many southern Blacks to the north shows that developments typical of dialect divergence are also taking place. origin: *Dialectal Hypothesis

*Creole Hypothesis Which Theory is Correct?
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