Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Re: Ebolandics

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Teresa Tipton (
Sun, 23 Mar 1997 21:26:08 -0800 (PST)

Respond to this message.

I am quoting the scholar, Audrey Wright, who did extensive research and
scholarship on black English. Like other scholars, she researched the
syntax and language structure as derived from West African languages and
found that the speech patterns of black English corresponded to these
languages. In general, for what I can remember off-hand, because of the
connection to community as the most important thing and the sense of
verbs as universals rather than changing according to singular or plural
cases, some verbs do not change for singular individual cases. There is a
sense of some of the language transcending the structure that English
imposes, making an imperfect "fit" from the West African to the English.
Time is measured differently and is not divided into past, present,
future, the same way as English language denotes. Rather, time is more of
a continuum.

Therefore, the conjugations of some verbs in English from West African
syntax, tend to be in the universal, rather than in the specific case. For
example, "is" denotes a state of being; in West African language, the word
would be used to denote the fact that we always exist (while we're alive),
so gender/individual cases utilize the same universal as do plural cases.
For example, it becomes "he is, you is, we is" it
translates into English use. It is a fascinating study in the way one's
primary language from slavery was adapted into the dominant culture's
language, without ever fully assimilating.

Concomitantly, Audrey compared the syntax of West African languages to
that of other countries and found that Icelandic was the closest. In terms
of her in-service that I attended, she will have to tell you more.

Cultural competency for bi-cultural/bi-lingual people means that we
understand how to operate from one system to another; just like our
"culture" at home is different from our "culture" at school, work, or in
company of friends. We all translate norms and standards from one
situation and another. Why does doing the same thing with language pose
such a problem for people? The research is pretty clear - bi-lingual
students cannot master "standard English" without being literate in their
first language.

But debating the point obsfucates where this message comes
from. Ebonics is not "garbage" and if we, as "educators" use this
kind of "language" to "educate" each other, all we get is "trash."

Teresa Tipton

On Sun, 23 Mar 1997, Griswold, Charlotte wrote:

> Like Rosa, I too have been wondering about the Ebonics-Icelandic link
> and would like more information.
> --
> Charlotte Griswold
> griswald
> Art Happens!

Respond to this message.