Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 09:55:04 -0500


Subject: Re: Recent Black English

My students report, given examples of urban black speech: "no one talks

like that any more" or (and to my point) "it's embarrassing when you talk

about that in class."

Is it possible that students deny the existence of the invariant BE or put

it off to "country talk" because it's a stigmatized form _now_ as perhaps

it was not for their parents 25 years ago?

Is there really any question that BE is still there and functioning as it

has? I have noticed lately that my urban black students (from Buffalo

and New York City) code switch more than they did when I began teaching

here (18 years ago). Code switching I hear typically has sentences beginning

in black English (often an introductory, locating or qualifying phrase)

and finishing in "academic English," often with jargon we've been using

in class, sometimes utilizing whole sentences from discussion.