In the article, If Black English isn’t a language, then tell me, what is, James Baldwin talks about the use of language. He breaks down the use of language to serve two audiences. He emphasizes that, “language evolves to describe or control a circumstance” (Baldwin, 1979). There may be a common language, but how people dictate the vocabulary is what makes it distinctive between communities. Black English serves the same purpose as any other language. It supports, evolves, and protect community or culture it serves. Baldwin also hints that without the funkiness of African Americans, the American culture wouldn’t be as powerful as it is. It is important that we understand that Black English helped shape the English language and has affected our
George Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language, first published in 1946, talks about some “bad habits”, which have driven the English language in the wrong direction, that is, away from communicating ideas. In his essay he quotes five passages, each from a different author, which embody the faults he is talking about. He lists dying metaphors, operators, pretentious diction, and meaningless words as things to look out for in your own writing and the writing of others (593-595). He talks about political uses of the English language. Our language has become ugly and the ugliness impedes upon communication. Ugly uses of language have been reinforced and passed down in the population “even among people who should and do know
James Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, and social critic. In the article ''If Black English Isn't a language then tell me what is?'' James Baldwin's asserts an argument as how Language is like the ID of people, it can identify, as well as define people. Due to the characteristics it has it can be defined as a persuasive essay. It attempts to persuade the readers to be on the writer's side, or accept their point of view. The article is about the history of black slavery will always be a boundary between black and white people, as it can never be forgotten. This significant essay was written in the 1970s. It talks about how language is not merely used for communication, it can be used to classify people with different social backgrounds and class. He used examples like how people in England talk make sense to their own people and not everyone else to demonstrate his thought of why Black English is not recognized as a real language. The reason is that Black English is creation of the black diaspora. In addition, he thinks that white man never meant to teach the Blacks English, the sole purpose of it was for the blacks to understand with the white people are saying so they can serve the white people. That is also the reason why he thinks black child are lost is that children can't be taught by people who despise them. I find it to be an interesting idea. He talked about the origin of black people going back to slavery. The inability to interact with each other made them create black English. Which was their own means of communication. I think that this article has a lot to say about the impact that language has on African American people and his positive approach is supported with strong historical evidence, and the authors anger behind this writing makes it stronger. However, the assumption about education makes the article weak.
James Baldwin, in his essay, "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me What Is?", wants to send and confirm to everybody that: Black English is a legitimate language. Several things he expressed in his essay demonstrated that is true and Black English need to be more accredited than it is. Firstly, this is the language stepped on from Black's slavery in the past many years ago, they came from many trials and that time, they met together, they were disposed and they underwent some racism. Thus, they form a language to connect each other, this language has rules, it can convey similar things with the others different language in the world. Secondly, the language of White American now would have gone on different way, if there was not
James Baldwin was a prominent African American writer, social critic, and racial justice advocate in the 1960’s and 70’s. In his 1963 Talk to Teachers he aimed to persuade an audience of teachers that education must exist to challenge systems and structures of power and that when it does not, it only serves to reinforce them and amplify their injustice. He specifically focuses on racial hierarchies and white supremacy in the United States. He achieves his persuasive purpose through the strategic use of first, second, and third person pronouns and the use of evocative language, and emphasizes the actionability of his message with anaphora.
George Orwell, the writer of many highly regarded literary works, is extremely interested in the power of language, mainly how it is abused. By analyzing two of his works, 1984 and Politics and The English Language, it is clear that Orwell is using his writing to bring awareness to the dangers of the manipulation, misuse, and decline of language. In 1984 he demonstrates how language can be used to control thought and manipulate the past. This is proven throughout the novel by examining the language of Newspeak and how it is key to controlling the totalitarian state, and how using language to alter and manipulate history can shape reality. In his essay Politics and the English Language Orwell
Authors often use literary devices and writing techniques in their works. During the past block, we studied texts that exemplify the power of discourse. Each text uses the literary device and writing technique of labels. Authors utilize labels to influence their readers’ understanding and to construct reality. Jaswinder Bolina and George Orwell adopt the technique of labels in their stories “Writing like a White Guy,” and “Politics and the English Language”, respectively. Both authors incorporate and discuss this device and its roles in literature and a reader’s perception. Bolina, in his piece, addresses how often times the writing style of an author is wrongly associated with the race of the author, as readers associate incorrect labels about him and his writing. He elaborates on how language, race, and poetry relate to each other in regards to an author and his writing style. Bolina is an English writer who moved to the United States in 2002. A major influence for Bolina was his father. His father originally immigrated to the United Kingdom from India in 1965, more specifically Bolina Doaba, Punjab. His dream was to become a writer and a poet; however, his father warned him that he would not be welcomed into the literary world with the name that he has. On the other hand, Orwell argues that writers take advantage of their audiences and use writing styles to deceive and sway opinions. Orwell highlights the ability of language to impact politics and political beliefs to be
In the civilized society that everyone lives in today, all languages and culture should be equal. That is the main idea in both Gloria Anzaldua’s essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, as well as James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”. The authors in both these texts support their argument in various ways, and in doing so, manages to effectively persuade their audience. The ways that each author approaches their argument is different in their appeals, evidence, and styles. Similarities also exist between the texts of the two authors. The rhetorical strategies that Anzaldua uses makes her argument much stronger than Baldwin’s argument.
George Orwell, in an essay from Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays titled “Politics and the English Language” (1950), argues that the English language, through a cyclical process of sloven language and foolish thought, has become “ugly and inaccurate.” He supports his argument by using expert opinion, metaphors, and historical context. Orwell’s purpose is to demonstrate the debasement of the English language in order to prompt writers to make a conscious change in their writing . He adopts an informal tone (“Look back throughout this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against”) for writers in a time of political turnover and rising superpowers.
In James Baldwin's “If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” and George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” it is evident that both of these authors have their own interpretations, and understanding of language as a political instrument. In spite of their differences they also have a few similarities. For Baldwin language was a powerful tool giving blacks a voice, allowing them to express their uniqueness and empowering them, whereas for Orwell believed that language controlled thinking and writing. Both of these authors had different perspectives towards the topic of language but the same desires when it came to expressing their perspectives. They both believed that the powerful could use language, to control the powerlessness.
In “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is” James Baldwin argues that black English provides a distinctive view of experience. Baldwin reveals the way language shapes and is formed by life’s circumstances. According to Baldwin, a language allows a group to define and express who they are from their own point of view, instead of having their reality expressed by another group. He used examples like how people in England talk makes sense to their own people and not everyone else to demonstrate his thought of why Black English is not recognized as a real language. Baldwin reveals how important a language either sets people apart or brings people together.
Language is the inevitable medium which people use as a means of communication. However, how that person uses the language that they have varies. Some view language as a persuasive political instrument and others view it as a means of expression and empowerment. In the essay “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” by James Baldwin, he was able to illustrate the history of the discrimination of language and how Black English is not accepted as its own language. Baldwin also shows that due to the lack of acknowledgement of Black English, it lacks the power it needs to empower the people who speak it. In the essay “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell, he was able to break down language and explain how language shapes reality. Orwell states that the he is not considering the literary use of language, but language is an instrument of expression and the promotion of cognitive deliberation and persuasion. Furthermore, both these authors agree that language is a political instrument, however, Baldwin uses this instrument to unite people and Orwell uses the instrument to persuade people.
In his essay, “If Black Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?,” the author, James Baldwin, opens with telling his audience about the problem that America faces involving black English. Baldwin attempts to explain his methodology or theory about language itself but his explanation can be hard to follow. His attempt to tell the audience about the “concerning the use, or the status, or the reality of Black English is rooted in American History has absolutely nothing to do with the question the argument supposes itself to be posing (Practical Argument, pg. 814).” Throughout the beginning of Baldwin’s essay there no goals mentioned, or they’re very hard to find, as well as no specific topic that is mentioned. Baldwin’s essay was not only bad at persuasion it also lacked proper components it needed to thrive. To say the least, Baldwin’s essay was ineffective and unpersuasive. The “logic” he used was unclear and misunderstood. He also lacked significant evidence, as well as lacked many organizational methods used in a good essay.
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote, “If Black Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” to further explore the idea of “black language” and how it is interpreted in our society today. Many believe that language is restricted to what is commonly taught in the education system. However, Baldwin argues that language may arise in a several types of dialect. Baldwin begins to prove his point by explaining to his readers that language can be developed in many different forms and how the different experiences may affect how you speak. Not only is language a way for people to communicate, but also “reveals the private identity, and connects on with, or divorces one from” the community. Even people that are involved in the same ethnic culture will speak the
In the totalitarian world, which Orwell describes, language is the most significant and effective approach to maintain the rule. From Orwell’s perspective, everything including language, which is particularly powerful, belongs to political measure. In fact, language is the fundamental motivation of creating a nation or a tribe. It is also the foundation of thought because Human’s thought must rely on the language expressing. Then it could be deduced by analogy that controlling human’s language equal controlling human’s thought. Except expressing, it has the ability to build facts. The Party controls citizens’ thinking through controlling the language so that the Party applies euphemistic words to mislead public and prettify its policy. It is unimaginable that language contributes to the rule. The totalitarian utilize every language method to hold the dominant position.