Yo seriously, this is a real actual post I'm making

If you see someone doing Racism and trying to couch it in linguistics in ANY WAY, please point me at them

I literally have the college education to prove them wrong and I am DESPERATE to prove to myself I didn't waste my time and money on this degree

We're good at spotting when people do transphobia with this, but racism is also something that people will try to defend with "language" and I'm not here to let that stand

@witchfynder_finder Forgive my ignorance, but could you give me an example of how this happens? I don't doubt you, I'm just privileged so I haven't experienced it and also it's approaching 2AM here. (But also if you don't have the spoons that's chill too, I totally get that <3 )


@HeckinWes Absolutely! Racism can be "defended" with language in a lot of ways and some of them are pretty subtle, but this is my go-to example. African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) is a dialect of American English spoken by Black people, especially those in cities. AAVE is recognized by linguists everywhere as a full dialect of English, meaning it has its own internally-consistent rules of grammar, sounds, etc.

However you will often see white racists complaining about how Black people speak, as if they are somehow making English worse by dropping the copula ("We out here") or conjugating verbs in a way different from standard American English. They will often try to cover their "concerns" with appeals to the English language, saying the way they speak isn't "proper" or "correct," that they are somehow "damaging" English.

These concerns are all, of course, bullshit. They're being racist.

@HeckinWes I'm always happy to answer questions about linguistics, btw~ I'm passionate enough about it to have a BA and am considering going to grad school, so if you want to know anything, just ask~ 💚

@witchfynder_finder I think I've seen AAVE mentioned before but I never really paid much attention to those posts as I had no idea what they were about. But yeah <3 Thank you for informing me!

@HeckinWes You're welcome~ I'm always happy to educate people that I know will listen~

@HeckinWes The history of ebonics is really interesting, because places like Oakland tried to treat it as what it is, which is a language variety different enough from the standard English used in U.S. schools that it should be taken into account as the native language of the people who use it.

And of course it was done imperfectly and criticized horribly and abandoned and treated as proof that language variation isn't to be taken seriously.

@witchfynder_finder @HeckinWes
in my experience, people of color have expressed disgust, and considered "racist", the word "Ebonics". Just thought I'd throw it out there. It's anecdotal and individualized to my own experience, but the "pure language fallacy" as I've heard it called, can be used for non-racist bulls*** too. I live in el paso, the idea that Spanglish speakers are less than pure english, or espanol puro speakers, is shared on both sides of the borders.

@witchfynder_finder @HeckinWes What's really cool is that many speakers of AAVE are pretty much "bilingual". They can insert the copulas and change their conjugations, and use different vocabulary, and they may do so in certain situations.

My sister, although she isn't black, learned AAVE first in NYC when she first arrived to the US (she spoke no English before), and she does this code-switching depending on whom she's talking to.

@JordiGH AAVE essentially does complete phonological reduction of copula instead of partial reduction (e.g. "she here" rather than "she's here"). But when the copula is focussed, it appears just as in other varieties ("she IS here").

@witchfynder_finder @HeckinWes
Sign in to participate in the conversation

cybrespace: the social hub of the information superhighway jack in to the mastodon fediverse today and surf the dataflow through our cybrepunk, slightly glitchy web portal support us on patreon or liberapay!