Hi.

I am going to ask a question about black English.

I was talking to my American friend, then I brought up the subject if he could speak Black English. He told me that my question sounded racist. He told me that it is not polite to ask someone if he could speak black English.

I was so shocked to hear that, I don't know if he was too cautious about the issue or I was wrong .

My impression is that, black English is a way of speaking English and by no means intends to offend anyone.

I would be grateful if you could let me know your opinion about this matter.

Regards
1 2
Hi,

I would say that it is a topic that can be discussed in a non-racist way or in a racist way.

Here are a few links, incase you need some basic information about the topic..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_English#North_America

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebonics

Clive
The issue of race is still a sensitive one in American society. There is a long history of social conflict from the founding of the country, a long and bloody civil war, reconstruction and its repercussions, and the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Although discrimination is illegal now, class distinction along racial lines is still is very obvious. Just look at any of the economic measures (poverty, unemployment rates, prison population, literacy and education), death row statistics, and even the differences between the penalties on drug use (powered cocaine versus crack cocaine).

There is a stigma associated with being a member of a disadvantaged class in any society. So I would not ask any direct personal questions related to race, even if they were my best friend. Asking someone if they can speak French or Italian is very different from asking if they can speak the language of a minority disadvantaged class.

By the way, the formal name of this dialect is Afrcan-American Vernacular English. There was a big politicial controversy in the 1990s when it (named "Ebonics") was proposed to be recognized in schools in California. Here is an article from that time: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/20/us/school-district-elevates-status-of-black-english.html
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I've heard ebonics which is not racial. even black people use it...
AlpheccaStarsThere was a big politicial controversy in the 1990s when it (named "Ebonics") was proposed to be recognized in schools in California.
And what a circus that was. A perfect example of the hysterics of completely uninformed people with strong opinions based on their colossal ignorance. Unfortunately, all too common among us Homo not-so-sapiens.

I wouldn't ask anyone if he spoke (could speak) AAVE unless he was a good friend who had already expressed an active linguistic interest in it or perhaps was studying it as a linguistics major.

CJ
[/quote]
I wouldn't ask anyone if he spoke (could speak) AAVE unless he was a good friend ....

CJ[/quote]

Thank you Jim for your response.

Is it that much controversial, that we cannot ask other people about it.

What about ebonics or American African that were suggested?

Is it alright to ask someone if he could speak ebonics?

Thank you
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Thank you very much AlpheccaStars.

Your explanation was helpful and complete.

So I was wrong about asking such a question.

I honesly enjoy the way they speak and sometimes I try to speak that way myself. I don't know how I should express it to be polite and not offend anyone.

Thank you
hrsaneiWhat about ebonics or American African that were suggested?
No.

hrsaneiIs it alright to ask someone if he could speak ebonics?
No, but this has nothing to do with any social norms. The way I have always understood it, Ebonics is a teaching method, not a language. For this reason it makes no sense to ask the question. You can't actually speak Ebonics any more than you can speak Phonetics. No one is going to list the languages he speaks as: French, Italian, and Phonetics. Similarly, no one is going to list: French, Italian, and Ebonics.

Ebonics is a method of teaching Standard English as a foreign language to speakers of AAVE (African American Vernacular English). For example, students are asked to transform sentences like My mom she bought a coat to My mom bought a coat, the repetition of a subject as a pronoun being characteristic of AAVE, but not of Standard English.

CJ
hrsaneiI honesly enjoy the way they speak and sometimes I try to speak that way myself.
The novelty will wear off eventually.

hrsaneiI don't know how I should express it to be polite and not offend anyone.
You need to face the fact that some things in life are just impossible. You may as well try to find a way of telling a man that walking anywhere with him is annoyingly slow because of his wooden leg. Emotion: smile

CJ
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