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The depth of isolation in the ghetto is also evident in black speech patterns, which have evolved steadily away from Standard American English. Because of their intense social isolation, many ghetto residents have come to speak a language that is increasingly remote from that spoken by American whites. Black street speech, or more formally, Black English Vernacular, has its roots in the West Indian creole and Scots-Irish dialects of the eighteenth century. As linguists have shown, it is by no means a “degenerate,” or “illogical” version of Standard American English; rather, it constitutes a complex, rich, and expressive language in its own right, with a consistent grammar, pronunciation, and lexicon all its own.

Douglas Massey and Nancy A. Denton, Chapter 6: “The Perpetuation of the Underclass,” p. 162 (American apartheid: segregation and the making of the underclass)

As linguists have shown, it is by no means a “degenerate,” or “illogical” version of Standard American English; rather, it constitutes a complex, rich, and expressive language in its own right, with a consistent grammar, pronunciation, and lexicon all its own.

(via deux-zero-deux)

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