Academic journal article Canadian Social Science


Academic journal article Canadian Social Science


Article excerpt


Back English is one of the varieties of so called Standard English spoken by the Black Americans. It has its own characteristics and uniqueness. We study it only because we want to know it better in order to understand and communicate with each other better.

Key words: black English; characteristics; variety; grammar

Résumé: L'anglaise des Noirs est l'une des variétés de ce qu'on appelle l'anglais standard parlé par les Noirs américains. Elle a ses propres caractéristiques et ses particularités. Nous l'étudions dans cet article parce que nous voulons mieux le connaître afin de se comprendre et de se communiquer mieux.

Mots-Clés: l'anglais des noirs; charactéristiques; variété, grammaire

As we all know that each language exists in a number of different varieties, and individuals vary in their language they use according to occasions. Not every individual will necessarily command the same range of varieties as every other person, but throughout the total linguistic community there will be a considerable features. The Black English , especially its spoken form is a special kind of variety.

Linguistics are agreed that no variety of a language is inherently better than any other. They insist that all language and all varieties of particular language are equal in that they quite adequately serve the needs of who use them. So some linguistics who have described the speech by black residents of the northern United States have noticed how uniform that speech is in many aspects. Then, what are the characteristics of black English?


Look at the following talk between two ten year's old boys and an adult.

Tom: hey Ms. Smith, d'ya owah watch Kung Fu on TV wif dat dude. . . wha's his name?

David: he have my name,Tom. Dat's duh dude's name.

Ms Smith: yes I've watched it a few times. It's really an exciting show.

David: did you awah see how he throw all dose dudes around, an how he use his legs?

Tom: yeah. You know what? He can always fight. He don't fight to be mean dough. He fight to be good, and he'p people. An' he always duh good guy.

David:you know what? He one of does pries' or somefin. Hey Ms. Smith, what is he? I can't remebah what dey call...

On the phonological level, several characteristics of Black English are evident in this conversation.

1st. The use of duh, dat, dose, dey. Tom and David repeatedly use a d sound for the th in standard English at the beginning of the words, such as "the", "that", "those", "there", and "they". And the use of v for th is also heared between vowels of words, such as" owah" by Tom.

2nd. The dropping of r after vowels, such as yo (you or you'er) ,sho(sure), for(four), po (pour),mo(more), noth (north.)... but at the end of words, where it is especially noticeable in Tom and David's conversation, it is indicated by the spelling - ah, as in owah, remembah

3rd. . Black English has certain has certain phonological, and syntactic characteristics. Words like thing and this may be pronounced as ting and dis. bath may sound like baff ; brother like bruwer , nothing like nuffin. Still other examples are bik for big; kit for kid, and cup for cub.

The result of such losses is that there are likely to be quite different homophones in Black English and in standard varieties of the language. Vowels may be nasalized and nasal consonants lost: run and end may just be in the first case an r followed by a nasalized vowel and in the second case a simple nasalized vowel with no pronunciation at all of the final nd. The diphthongs in words like find and found may be both monophongized and nasalized, and the words may lack any pronunciation of the final nd. Consequently, find ,found, even fond may become homophonous, all pronounced with an f and a following nasalized vowel.

Furthermore, in morphology, because final t and d are often pronounced, there may be no overt signaling of past tense, so that I walked sounds just like I walk. …

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