OFF-TOPIC: Ebonics

Subject: OFF-TOPIC: Ebonics
From: Lisa Higgins <lisa -at- DRDDO1 -dot- EI -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 12:29:21 +0000

[I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry; but if I don't post this, my
eyeballs are going to pop out of my head. This is so off-topic it's
ridiculous. Please flame me by email, and not to the list.]

> How does bad English dignify and preserve African roots? Wouldn't
> speaking proper Swahili (Kenya and Tanzania) or other African dialects
> serve better? Bad English is bad English and it don't benefit nobody.

Please try to understand where your xenophobia is coming from before
you start accusing people of speaking 'bad' english.

I find this horrifically offensive. Black American English does not
preserve African roots, but African-AMERICAN roots. The dialect
serves the need of its community, as does every truly dynamic
language. I've been constrained by Standard American English in the
past simply because it is too static and proscriptive to allow it to
change and expand quickly enough to meet the needs of its user base.

The consuetudinal 'be' is not bad English. The contraction of 'am
not' is not bad English. The secondary amplifying negative is not bad
English. Bad English is that xenophobic dead language that languishes
in fifty-year old textbooks and in mean-spirited pedants whose
personal value is measured by how many people they can insult and
degrade.

> Plus who's to say what is standard Ebonics and what isn't? Standard bad
> English?

Its speakers, maybe?


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