Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 09:55:04 -0500
From: Ron Rabin RABINRL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SNYBUFAA.CS.SNYBUF.EDU
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.