Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 12:22:57 -0500


Subject: Hebonics

Here is the missing post from HEL.

Wayne Glowka

At the request of Susan Ervin-Tripp, the linguistic anthropologist Jim

Wilce has created a web site for postings (including newspaper material) on

Ebonics. The temporary site URL is which

links to linganthnet archives (linguistic anthropology list archives). If

you want your postings on the topic to be in this archive, contact Jim at

this URL.

The Ebonics debate resulted in the distribution of the following humorous


around the Web:

Jewish English or "Hebonics"

The Encino School Board has declared Jewish English a second language.

Backers of the move say the district is the first in the nation to recognize

Hebonics as the language of many of America's Jews. Here are some

characteristics of the language and sample phrases in standard English

and Jewish English.

Pronunciation Characteristics

Jewish English or "Hebonics" hardens consonants at the ends of words.

Thus, "hand" becomes "handt."

The letter "W" is always pronounced as if it were a "V".

Thus "walking" becomes "valking"

"R" sounds are transformed to a guttural that is difficult to

represent in standard English orthography. For example,

It is "ghraining" "algheady".

Idiomatic Characteristics

Questions are always answered with questions:

Question: "How do you feel?"

Hebonics response: "How should I feel?"

The subject is often placed at the end of a sentence

after a pronoun has been used at the beginning:

"She dances beautifully, that girl."

Sarcastic emphasis is obtained by repeating a word

after adding or substituting "sh" at the beginning.

money becomes "money shmoney"

love becomes "luv shmuv"

Usage Comparisons

Standard English Phrase Hebonics Phrase

"He walks slowly" "Like a fly in the

ointment, he walks"

"You're sexy" (unknown concept)

"Sorry, I do not know the time" "What do I look like, a clock?"

"I hope things turn out for the best " "You should BE so lucky"

"Anything can happen" "It is never so bad, it can't

get worse"

received by David Korenstein from Dawn who received it from Dani.

forwarded by Israel Cohen