Academic journal article English Journal

Ebonics 101

Academic journal article English Journal

Ebonics 101

Article excerpt

Now perhaps I should start this poem by informing you that I am bilingual.

That the Queen's English that I speak so eloquently before you now, is not my first language, no.

My grandmother never used such diction when she spoke me up in the welfare line amongst the other dwellers,

or when she called down to me from the project window for dinner no, we spoke a more southern fried English.

This rhetorical recipe has been in my family for generations.

Grandma say, Big Mama hid it under her tongue as she headed for northern cities during a great migration.

Scholars call it African American Vernacular English.

but My guys they call it Slang.

The Man calls it Ebonics.

I call it America's creole, the last remaining squab birthed from a European and African pidgin.

Turned into the dialect of the dough boys,

the bass that appears in a rapper's rhythmic rhetoric

spoken everywhere from the trap house

to the liqueur store

from the HIV testing clinic

to the bus stop

Ebonics is the official language to the undefined black culture

the native tongue to the underrepresented black American

and long before I received Liberal arts degrees and stood unimposing in academic settings

I born on the south side of Chicago, and managed to garner up enough street cred from the school of hard knocks to qualify me to teach you all a few of my language's essentials

So hipsters I hope you got your note pads ready because this is Ebonics 101

Chapter 1

Any English word that holds an (in) combination, the (i) becomes an (a)


Billie Holiday couldn't just sing that girl could sang

If Martin did all that walkin I wonder if him feet stank

Traveled all them miles just to hear freedom rang, I wonder what he was thankin

Chapter 2

Any English word ending an (or) combination the (r) sound becomes silent


Emmett Till screamung Don't beat me no mo

like Rodney screaming Don't beat me no mo,

like Trayvon asking What is you following me fo

Chapter 3

Any English word that holds an (er) combination, the combination the (er) becomes an (a)

like in the great quote from the linguistic scholar Ms Lauryn Hill

"And even after all my logic and my theory I add a 'Motherfucka' so you ignorant niggas hear me. …

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