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"Part Five: Language Variations and Discourse2. History of Black English"
Part Five: Language Variations and Discourse2. History of Black English
Author:
Jessica Linton
The history of Black English in the United States is complex and even today only partly understood. Black English is also referred to as Black language, African American Vernacular English, Black English Vernacular or Vernacular Black English, Ebonics, African American English, "the language of soul," and "the shuffling speech of slavery." There has been much controversy over the history of Black English and how it came about. Many linguists trace the development of Black English back to the time of slavery and the slave trade. Other scholars contend that Black English developed out of the contact between speakers of West African languages and speakers of vernacular English varieties. Others say that Black English developed from the mixing of African languages. This paper sets to examine the different theories held by linguists as to how Black English came about.


Many linguists trace the development of Black English back to the time of slavery and the slave trade. This dates back to about 1619, when a Dutch vessel landed in Jamestown with a cargo of twenty Africans. During the slave trade, ships collected slaves from several different African nations rather than trading with one nation because Africans from different nations spoke different languages and could not communicate with each other. Without being able to communicate with each other, they were incapable of uniting with one another to come up with a way of either escaping, taking over the ships or rebelling. In J. L. Dillard's book, Black English: Its History and Usage in the United States, he provides evidence that there was a lack of such language mixing during the early times of the slave trade and that it developed much later. He states that slave buyers learned to prefer African from specific tribes and areas, and the language mixing practiced on the...

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essay on Part Five: Language Variations and Discourse2. History of Black English
Pages:
6 (1566 words)
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Added:
02/09/2012
Category:
Literature / English
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