Speech Is Nothing More Than Incorrect English

1373 Words Nov 9th, 2015 6 Pages
Destiny Anger
Professor Grant McGuire
Linguistics Essay #1
Chances are, this is not the first time you’ve heard the term “Ebonics”. Cartoonists and Linguists alike have made their fair share of jokes on this word comprised of “ebony” and “phonics”, which is used when referring to the speech of African American English speakers (Pullum, 321). While some would say that this variety of speech is nothing more than incorrect English, others would argue that African American Vernacular English (AAVE) is in fact a language on its own, complete with rules, complexities, and patterns (Pullum, 321). The opposing sides on this issue have sparked controversial debates and even hateful outbursts, all of which have very little to do with the actual spoken words, and more to do with the people who are doing the talking, as we discussed in class lecture (McGuire). Racial and social class prejudices seem to be behind much public opinion on the issue. Whether you argue for AAVE being a language separate from English, or simply a dialect, speakers of AAVE are dealing with a linguistic barrier that affects various parts of their educational, social, and personal lives.

Geoffrey K. Pullum, a British-American linguist specializing in the study of English, would argue that AAVE is in fact a complex language separate from Standard English (Wikipedia, 1). He supports his argument by referring to the rule on omitting the copula that African American Vernacular English follows. This…
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