African-American Vernacular English/'Ebonics' Caslee Sims Jr.

Dr. Robert Williams, Psychologist

Coined the term Ebonics in 1973. "We need to define what we speak. We need to give a clear definition to our language. …We know that ebony means black and that phonics refers to speech sounds or the science of sounds. Thus, we are really talking about the science of black speech sounds or language". (Williams, 1997a)

John R. Rickford, Academic & Author

Unlike many slang terms, these 'black' words have been around for ages, they are not restricted to particular regions or age groups, and they are virtually unknown (in their 'black' meanings) outside the African American community.

Ebonics: A blend of the words ebony 'black' and phonics 'sounds'.

To many, Ebonics sounds like "broken English", but to most who "speak" it, it's nothing out of the norm. The first examples that come to mind are 'slang' words. Slang terms have been around for years but millennials have introduced their own wave of slang that is nonetheless here to stay. It's part of the culture. Popular culture influences in music namely hip-hop/rap and film influence popular slang terms.

Many pronunciations in Ebonics includes features like the omission of the final consonant in words like 'going' (goin'), 'feeling' (feelin'), and so forth. It is said that this is also common among white vernacular English, especially in the south, although generally more common in Ebonics. Some Ebonics pronunciations are more unique, for instance, dropping b, d, or g at the beginning of auxiliary verbs like 'don't' and 'gonna', yielding Ah 'on know for "I don't know" and ama do it for "I'm going to do it" (Rickford, What is Ebonics (African American English)? As said, AAVE is not limited to one region.

What about code-switching?

Code Switching: Code-switching is the practice of moving between variations of languages in different contexts. Everyone who speaks has learned to code-switch depending on the situation and setting. In an educational context, code-switching is defined as the practice of switching between a primary and a secondary language or discourse. This is very prominent among African-Americans as AAVE is frowned upon in many public spaces.

Comedians are often needed to explain things in a way that most of us can relate to, while also being extremely funny. Watch as Key & Peele's identities gradually come to life over ordering food.



Created By
Caslee Sims

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.