Some social and linguistic aspects of the discussion on Black English
The problems involved in the discussion of the speech of black Americans and the importance of sociopolitical factors in this context become apparent even at the very first step of approaching the subject--the attempt to define and label the object of research. There is no clear definition of the dialect in question, and there is no generally shared term for it. A wide variety of parameters--ethnic, social, regional, pragmatic, and linguistic points, as well as the age of speakers--have to be taken into consideration, and some authors select any given combination of these to provide an individual definition of the dialect they are talking about. The name used to designate this variety frequently depends not upon any of these factors but upon an author's intention to express his or her attitude toward the dialect or its speakers.
All terms used for the dialect under discussion contain as a core element either the word black or the word Negro Thus the ethnic component is certainly of first-rank importance for a definition of the dialect. Still, it cannot be taken to be the one and only distinctive criterion. Only a certain proportion of the black population of the United States speaks the dialect identified as typically "black" ( Baugh 1983: 1), and the speech community may consist of members of other races as well, if they have extensive language contact with blacks. Some Puerto Ricans in Harlem provide