NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED045957
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Some Illustrative Features of Black English.
Wolfram, Walt
This paper, which deals chiefly with Black English (BE), is an attempt "to exemplify some general principles concerning the nature of nonstandard dialects" with the chief goal of demonstrating the legitimacy of such dialects and fostering an attitude of respect towards them. The following points are stressed: (1) BE shares many features with other varieties of English, but is distinct in having a number of pronunciation and grammatical features peculiar to itself. (2) There are intra-dialectal variations among speakers of BE which correlate with social class, age, and degree of racial isolation. (3) Although BE is spoken almost exclusively by Negroes, not all Negroes speak BE, nor do BE speakers use exclusively nonstandard forms; there is a degree of fluctuation between BE and more standard-like forms. (4) BE is a fully formed system in its own right, with its own pronunciation and grammar rules, and is not simply an unworthy approximation of standard English. (5) The distinctiveness of BE can be traced to such factors as the influence of creole languages spoken by early plantation slaves, as well as to the social isolation of the Black community. (FWB)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC. Sociolinguistics Program.
Note: Paper presented at the Workshop on Language Differences, Coral Gables, Florida, February 1970