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Rank #2818 on Comments
Level 220 Comments: Mind Blower
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- In math, a double negative equals positive. However, in AAVE a…
Soulja Boy vs Shia LaBeouf
The "rules of math" are the rules of
Language needs consistant logic to even work in the first place.
Otherwise sentences wouldn't even be a thing, and you wouldn't be able to convey information outside of single words and gestures.
But AAVE is consistent in that a double negative is a negative.
What he said was "He can't never come to Atlanta."
So I'll break it down for you,
"He can not NEVER go to Atlanta."
Not is used to describe "negation" or another words, "something negative".
Never means "absolutely not, not at all, not ever."
So by him saying that he cannot or can't, never do something, he is in fact using two negatives to make a positive. You're using circular reasoning, and its simply not true. Its like saying I'm allergic to garlic, but dogs can't be allergic to garlic because I'm human and dogs aren't.
You should be careful judging a dialect (or a variety, more accurately). AAVE does not function on the same premisses as English. There are many languages in the world where the double negative functions the same way as in AAVE, but people don't claim that those are "incorrect".
Ebonics, or if you want to be politically correct, AAVE, is a dialect of ENGLISH. I don't speak Mandarin or German, so I can't speak about the rules regarding those languages. English, however, I do speak. And I can tell you the rules for the English language apply to Ebonics just as much as they do to someone speaking redneck. Just because someone choose to speak slang doesn't mean the rules don't apply anymore, it just means that person is ignorant. Furthermore, when speaking English, two negatives equal a positive. Just like in mathematics. If you could, give me an example of a rule that doesn't apply in Ebonics compared to the English language because I'm very interested as to why you believe this to be true.
"African American Vernacular English (AAVE), also called African American English (AAE), or less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular (BEV), or Black Vernacular English (BVE)," -
What you are doing is taking a prescriptive approach to language, which has been the norm up until I guess Chomsky came along. Today, the view is descriptive, meaning that instead of enforcing rules on languages, we are instead describing them as they are used.
What you are doing is that you are transferring rules from one code onto another, therefore deeming the other code (AAVE) a lesser language, and in turn judging EVERYONE that speaks them as "idiots" or whatever.
Every single dialect (or variety) has their own set of rules. These rules apply to pragmatics, phonetics, grammar, discourse rules, etc.,etc. Basically the entire language. Irish English is a form of English, but you would be mad to impose the rules of RP or General American on to it, but still you do it to AAVE. I find that very hypocritical to say the least.
Here are the main differences in grammar between AAVE and General American: Invariant "be" (I be going to the store), double negatives, consonant cluster reduction (through the use of metathesis specifically: "aks" instead of "ask"), fronting/stopping of the "th" sound: words such as "the", "they, "though" become "de", "dey", "dough" under certain conditions (I am greatly simplifying here).
These are not rules that are "forced" upon AAVE by any authority or the people who speak it. These rules are simply being described by linguists in how ordinary black people talk from all of the country. Not everyone uses all of these rules, but they can generally be applied all over the board in order to see and understand how much it differs from General American.
So in the first part of you rebuttal, you're basically saying that we make up language as we go along therefore there are no rules. That itself is an ignorant statement. Your using the rules of language right now to convey your thoughts to me. If everyone spoke like "Stupid think do you always" nobody would be able to understand each other. Is that a statement or a question? You can't tell. Yes, AAVE is less intelligent just as the way hillbillies talk to each other is. You typically don't hear CEO's or doctors speaking AAVE because they are educated. English is the dialect of language promoted above all other dialilects of English in U.S. It is promoted in the schools, newspapers, and advertising. It is what sets the rules for all other dialects. "Dey be goin to da sto." is a great example. Notice none of the definitions of the words in that sentence defer from "They are going to the store." And the sentence overall means the exact same thing. ""Are" is just incorrectly replaced with a different verb. Mind you the verb means the same as "are".
I do realize in the second part you are now agreeing, saying there ARE rules in language, but it completely contradicts what you said previous. I'm not saying that language doesn't change over time. It does. English used to be 90% phonetic up until the 1500s when the Reformation began and French and Latin were incorporated into the language. Now it's only 40% phonetic. But to say the word "they" can be appropriately replaced with "dey" is wrong. Liberals have been trying to establish AAVE as an actual language separate from English for years. This debate actually started in Oakland, CA (the most liberal state) here in U.S.
Black American linguist John McWhorter argues that "the use of the term does more to hinder black academic achievement than to help it, in that considering AAVE to be a completely different language from English serves only to widen the perceived divide between whites and blacks in the United States."
They believe African slaves, upon arriving in the United States, picked up English very slowly and learned it incorrectly, and that these mistakes have been passed down through generations. In other words, AAVE is just "bad English." There are other hypotheses of how AAVE came to be, but all have the same thing in common. Bad English.
Lastly, you need the rules of prescriptive language to speak descriptive. Prescriptive are rules when descriptive is practice. Both have there uses. I can say, "That cake was awesome!" But you'd be hard pressed to find a cake that is awe inspiring. But that statement, being said descriptively, you still know what I mean. It's technically bad english, but the message gets across all the same. You said that there are no such things as double negatives that equate to a positive because "thats a math rule". Prescriptively, you are wrong.
Any rebuttals to this discussion? I'm very curious to hear more from you
I am not saying that a language has no rules. That is not true at all, and I was referring to the way in which rules of a language are being handled by linguists. "Prescriptivism" is the notion that language is something unorganic: rules are created by people in power and then enforced in schools, professional life, etc. A good example that exemplifies prescrivism is in French in Frace: they have an institute that create rules for how "proper" French should be spoken and written. However, this leads to a divide with speakers of French: in the professional life the French use the "official" mode of communication, but in all other contexts they use local varieties that come natural to them. This leads me to how the same thing goes for AAVE: of course there are doctors and lawyers that use AAVE, but they only use it in their home communities where there is no stigma. In their professional life they use General American as much as possible. This is called code-switching.
When it comes to the origin of English and General American you are partly on track. English used to be "phonetic" (I am assuming that by phonetic you mean that people who wrote English "back in the day" wrote in the same manner as they spoke). This notion of English being phonetic changed not because of the reformation or French or Latin influences (these came much earlier than the 1500s. Latin influence on English pre-dated Old English, i.e. before the year 500, and French came with the turn into Middle English, i.e. the year 1350). English needed rules after the printing press was invented in England by William Caxton, when suddenly the entire country had the opportunity to read books in English. The King James Bible was another contributing factor to the sudden need to standardized rules.
However, even before the printing press there were rules to English. England could then be categorized into roughly 4 different types of English: Kentish, West-Saxon, Mercian and Northumbrian. Every single variety had their own set of rules, but none of them had been standardized and written down in grammar books or the like. The languages simply lived because people communicated with each other, and thus the language survived and developed naturally through human communication.
As you pointed out, the exact transformation of AAVE from African languages is not really concise. There are a lot of theories out there, but one of the most prevalent theories is that of pidginization. A pidgin language starts out because there is a need to communicate with other people, but there is no common language (newly arrived African slaves that spoke different languages had to communicate with each other, and they had to communicate with the slave owners). When this situation is going on for long enough, the language undergoes creolization, meaning that it becomes the first language. In the case of AAVE, this process has been going on for so long now that what was once a language (a creol) has developed into a variety of English (i.e. mutually understandable). The slaves did not learn it incorrectly, and black people in the US today doesn't learn English incorrectly. Many knows who varieties of English, both General American and AAVE and they can shift between these as freely as they like.
It is a common consensus among linguists that AAVE is a variety of English, just as General American, Received Pronunciation, Irish English, South Africa-English, etc.,etc. are all varieties of English. Thus AAVE is not a "bad" form of English, linguists are simply saying that AAVE is a variety of English that has its own rules and quirks, just like Australian English or Wales-English.
Your view of what a language is seems to stem from a notion that language is created by humans artificially. And then that one language is the true language (in the US: General American is the true English, the rest is bad English, in China: Mandarin is the true Chinese, everything else is bad Chinese). This is a common view of people that have not studied linguistics at all, because emotions towards a group of people that speak one variety of English can be so extreme. So this view that AAVE is a variety of English, and not bad English, is not a liberal view at all. It has been well documented through years of research, and can easily be found on the internet.
Absolutely! I'll try to touch base on all your points, but you covered a lot so forgive me if I miss something.
Firstly, let me start off by saying I may have worded myself poorly in regards to French and Latin being introduced. That's my fault. Of course, Latin and French widely influenced and was used in English long before the 1500's. My point was that it was 90% phonetic (people talked like they wrote) until the 1500's when afterwards it became only 40%. Thus leading to my point of languages changing over times.
Secondly, you previously stated that prescriptivism is an outdated notion. That's just not the case. Linguistics is a science, so it makes sense to take a descriptive view on it. However, without the rules of prescriptivism, these languages would have no
. I think one problem it seems you're having is you're confusing dialects and languages. They are not one in the same, nor should they be considered interchangeable.
A language is something politically and historically determined, is more prestigious and bigger than dialects, and is the so-called standard while dialects are more of a homely version. Of course there is no definite agreement amongst researchers yet, but it's fairly safe to say that dialect is a more local form of a language. AAVE is a dialect of English. It is not it's own separate language. It even says on the wiki paged you linked. Therefore, like most dialects, it falls under the rules of English. Now a dialect and language must be mutually intelligible to be understood by each other. This rule is not universal in all situations. Despite Norway and Sweden speaking different languages their languages are mutually intelligible for the most part. But usually one dialect can't speak in a intelligible manner with another without using the same rules of the given language. Leading to my point
that two negatives equal a positive in English
. This may be different in other languages, but not when it comes to English.
I've had the fortunate experience of growing up in a rural part of the usa, as well as the ghetto of my particular city. I had to learn to converse using AAVE in order to fit in. Much like the doctor in our example, I only talked like this when conversing with someone else that does, and when I'm outside of my profession of course. But (and I could be wrong) there is no university in the USA that considers AAVE a language all in its own. (If you do know of one let me know because that would be very interesting).
Now in regards to the history of AAVE, It was originally coined as "Non-standard Negro English" in the 1960s When the first large scale linguistic study was done on African American communities. In 1973, a group of black scholars tried to do away with the negative connotations associated with Non-standard Negro English. They coined the term "Ebonics". The term however never caught on with linguists. Then the "Ebonics controversy of December 1996" occurred. The Oakland school board declared AAVE as it's own language. This is very much a liberal view, as modern linguists and the general public do not consider Ebonics as it's own seperate language. Like John Mcwhorter (a descriptive linguist) argues, to push the narrative of Ebonics as a language is another obstacle to keep the African American society from advancing. Instead of focusing on teaching blacks English so they can better adapt in the contemporary United States, they are trying to pass off AAVE as an acceptable way to go about the world. This is especially problematic when it comes time for things like an English SAT.
Lastly, I believe that this is basically a subjective matter that we both are trying to argue as objective which is why I never replied to your last comment. Grammar school teachers are quick to correct someone using the word "gots" or "irregardless" while linguists haul that descriptivism is the all mighty truth to language. But the bottom line is, each individual ultimately doesn't have to completely conform to any one way of thinking. As long as you keep your wits about you, there is nothing wrong with keeping an open mind towards saying something, nor is it bad if you decide to consult a manual for tips to best communicate your ideas to other individuals
PS:I do sincerely thank you though for taking the time to have an intellectual discussion as most people on the internet can't help but try to make things personal if they disagree.
Sorry for the late reply, but I'm travelling atm. I'll reply as soon as I get more time!
same goes for the infamous lines of "those homies didn't do nothing" AKA dindu nuffin.
that implies that they''re actually doing something, which in this case is a criminal activity.
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I'm mostly self-taught, although I've attended free lectures and spoke with several experts on the subject. I've traveled all over the world since my childhood and learned bits and pieces of at least a dozen different languages, and it's instilled in me a love of language and how it develops, works, and evolves. Combined with my obsessive studying habits and near photographic memory, I've learned a great deal about the nature and history of languages (although, funnily enough, I've never actually learned another language to fluency).
I have taken some college, but I found out that U.S. colleges are absolutely shit pretty quickly and dropped out of that mess before it did any more damage to me than it already had. Seriously, fuck the public schools and fuck the colleges over here; Americans are some of the most poorly educated people in the first world and it's all because of this wretched education system.
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