An introduction to the history of the ebonics debate

Original usage[ edit ] The word Ebonics was originally coined in by African American social psychologist Robert Williams [1] in a discussion with linguist Ernie Smith as well as other language scholars and researchers that took place in a conference on "Cognitive and Language Development of the Black Child", held in St. We need to give a clear definition to our language We know that ebony means black and that phonics refers to speech sounds or the science of sounds.

An introduction to the history of the ebonics debate

Green Stereotypes[ edit ] The use of Ebonics or Black English in American history and culture has been used to stereotype and falsify the lifestyle of many Afro-North Americans. Firstly, mock Ebonics are a commonly used stereotype to discriminate and continue to portray Ebonics as an inferior, less intelligent means of communication [38].

Mock Ebonics by definition are fictional and mimic ways of communicating in Ebonics that have no phonological, semantic, and pragmatic sense or regularity. Researchers list the strategies that mock Ebonics consist of; which are the frequent use of be, semantic and pragmatic irregularities, using vulgar phrases, and non-systematic representations of the phonetic segments [39].

The frequent use of be is inappropriate in most mock Ebonics because of the placement and emphasis it holds in a sentence or discourse. The placement of be is overly used to mock the dialect and as noted in the phonology section, Ebonics has a system of rules that regulates itself.

Also, the use of vulgar language throughout the parodies and comic episodes are very negative towards Ebonics speakers [40].

The vulgar terms are associated with SE words to portray that Ebonics speakers use derogatory language in every sentence spoken. This example also illustrates the pragmatic problems where a non-Ebonics speaker randomly places greetings and terms in a sentence.

Stereotyping occurs from the ignorance and the ethnocentric view that there is a better dialect upon the nation, but this is completely linguistic racism that needs to be critically understood.

Kochman argued that dialects and ethnicities are differences in style and not intellect [41].

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Elitism refers to the idea of a language to be proper and more intellectual than another. It is emphasized at a young age that how you say things is just as important as what is being said. However, the how is simply style of the speaker not the inadequacies of speaker.

The use of elitism continues to reinforce prejudice and discrimination across non-standardized English, such as Ebonics. Those in power continue to try and maintain these anti-Ebonics ideologies through the discrimination in discourse by describing Ebonics and other sub-English dialects a disorder.

Although, when critical thinking and further knowledge is applied, society will be able to see passed the surface of what they are hearing as different and hear the content of the message. Code switching refers to speakers switching from one dialect to another [44].

Whites are not enforced or pressured to switch from the natural speech they speak at home to the SE in schools. However, when African North Americans Ebonics speakers are in certain situations or conversations, they are encouraged and often forced to switch from their natural dialect into the SE of the situation.

Ebonics speakers usually talk about personal events and emotions, while talking to friends in the classroom but, switch to SE while talking to teachers. Code switching is heavily situated and facilitated by the pragmatics of speech and communication. In educational debates, it was suggested that being bi-dialectal should be encouraged by giving options for students to communicate in SE, but to use their dialect that they bring from school [45].

This would encourage teachers to understand the components and pragmatics of Ebonics and then, help students to use correct code switching. This teaching strategy is to help lessen the pressure and racist ideology that Ebonics is incorrect or broken SE [46].

This technique is put in place to celebrate diversity and encourage people to respect the use of this dialect for conveying messages in their native tongue.

Ebonics integration was met with tons of critical debate. However, by teaching Ebonics or letting students use their dialect from home, educators are trying to help students use SE and are trying to eliminate the linguist racism that one dialect or language is less sufficient or accurate than another.

There is no primitive language, all languages are equal whereby they convey a message and communicate [51]. This movement was placed into school systems to celebrate the diversity of dialects that are commonly used outside the classroom. The teaching methods in schools would have the same focus on teaching SE, but SE would be treated as a second dialect used [52].

This method to maintain the native dialect in the classroom is seen as how bilingualism is taught. Although, the efforts of linguists and the Oakland California School Board have made very positive steps towards attitudes and power structures of Ebonics, it has yet to be formally immerged in schools as learning and teaching tools.

The answers are still unclear, even with all the research advocating language and cultural diversity. Blacks, like other races, have a society to which they have their own cultural norms, expectations, laws and traditions that one must follow.

Many black students try and resist the dominant norms SEhowever some efforts are at times harming to them. It was found that many black underachievers resist the dominant cultural norms by avoidance and in turn by not going to class or doing homework; these students fail or drop out [56].

Thus, suggesting that language and communication at school versus at home needs to be culturally sorted, so that students are receiving the proper and relevant education, so that they can academically prosper and succeed.

Also, the proper evaluation for students needs to be in place since this would eliminate the bias and wrongly accused deficiency that a standardized test would detail an Ebonics speaker to have [57]. Although, there has not been any major changes to the curriculum of many schools where Ebonics is spoken by the majority, the efforts to place Ebonics in classrooms is still a fiery debate and hope for many black communities.

In conclusion, as optimistic as can be, through linguistic consciousness and education on diversity, Ebonics will be a subject that will continue to be judged and talked about.

The combination of linguistics, cultural studies, history, politics, sociology, and psychology will help the research on Ebonics in the classroom and code-switching. This research and studies are continually growing to promote black identity and well-being. Learning Exercises You read all the informationEbonics (a blend of the words ebony and phonics) is a term that was originally intended to refer to the language of all people descended from enslaved Black Africans, particularly in West Africa, the Caribbean, and North America.

The art of the debate is something that has been practiced among people for centuries. Like any performance or conversation though, the introduction to a debate is the most important part.

The Real Ebonics Debate Perhaps more than any other debate in education, the study of language grapples with questions of power and identity. We believe it is especially important that African-American educators take the lead in defining the discussion around Ebonics. ON THE "EBONICS" DEBATE.

Soon after the Oakland School Board announced their decision to resort to AAVE in the education of its speakers in their school system, the New York Times invited me, right after Christmas , to write the following op-ed article which was eventually not published.

I am con, so i support the fact that ebonics is not a real language, rather an imbaresment to the african-american race to say that the mispronunciation of words among african-american citizens is so mis-understood that it becomes so foriegn to other American citizens that it has to become considered a complete different language.

Essay about Ebonics. Words 15 Pages. Ebonics INTRODUCTION The main topic of this paper is the USA, and I have chosen to concentrate on a fairly new issue, the language know as Ebonics.

An introduction to the history of the ebonics debate

Ebonics Debate Comes to Capitol Hill Magazine Articles All of the above listed articles are from the Washington Post.

Do You Speak American . Sea to Shining Sea . American Varieties . AAVE . Ebonics | PBS