Sunday, June 11, 2017

Reflection on Black English.

Reflection on Black English.

by Rachael Orbach



I didn’t know that Black English really had a structure!  Even though the Black kids from the Center of Los Angeles were bussed into our suburban school, and I had to study with them, I heard them talk, but never really paid attention to their  speech per say.   We were not friends even though  they were in the same class.  

It was really surprising that Black English, has its own grammar like the word “Be”  and that when it comes in a sentence.  It reminds me a bit like how Spanish is.  If you say “Vou estas bien”, it could be a complement, or not.  “He be good,” means that the boy is good, and is always good.  But, “He good,” is only for right now.  This could be a compliment or not.  

Sometimes when Black children speak, it almost seems like another language, the way that words are accented and run together.  This is different from American English, and it makes it difficult for Blacks and Whites to integrate.

Letter substitutions like   “dem,” instead of “them,”  are also interesting. Do Black children get mixed up when they get to school?  How do they reconcile the way they are taught to read compared with the way they speak?  This may be the reason that Black children in the United States get behind in reading and writing.  

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