Language Autobiography_Aja_Wallace


My dad and I were sitting in his dark silver Tahoe. The radio was on but it was low, so the voice of whom ever singing was heard very faintly. We drove to North Philly to pick up his friend from work but he wasn’t coming out the door for another fifteen to twenty minutes. It was cold out so the heat was on and we started talking to so we wouldn’t think about the long wait. “Music is, well I believe it is the best thing ever invented, maybe not some much as invented but you get the drift.It’s amazing how many different genres there are.  I love music and they way it’s made you have the beats and the base of a song. It’s like I become one with the beat and base. Taking me to a place where I completely feel on top of the world. We talk about music so often because it is like our own language in a way. We express ourselves with symbolism, the symbolism being the music. People are always saying how there is a song for every emotion you feel no matte what it is. I’ll sometimes start the conversation off with a song I was thinking of then tell how it is affecting me at that moment. It’s a important topic because, “music is a way I bring my mentally back to reality.” My father and I talk about music a lot I remember it like it was yesterday when I told him that.           

            Then I stared to explain to him how talking to him and talking to my cousins about the same topic causes a big change in vocabulary and more use of slang. If I talk to them the way I talk to my parents they would either get bored with what I’m saying, not fully understand because they would no longer be paying attention, or laugh or ask why am I speaking like a white person. When the say white person they’re referring to Standard English. To them all people of the Caucasian race speak proper. If they see someone speaking proper and they’re not of the Caucasian race they would ask why is that person talking white or not talking the way their race is stereotyped to speak. Most of the time when I talk to them I find myself code switching to make it easier for them as well as myself. If I don’t use a small portion of slang I feel like I don’t fit in with them or they won’t get the significance of what I’m talking about. For me using slang make me feel very uncomfortable but I am indirectly forced to use it at times. Not saying that is it a horrible thing but most of the time I’d rather not use slang. Just in asking a simple question my cousin tends to use slang. We were in my room my cousin sat on my bed an I sat on the floor leaning my ear towards her voice because she was talking to me while I was typing on my computer  “Aja ain’t you gonna go wid us to da mall tomar or you ain’t ask ya mom?” My replay “Well I’m not go”-----(before I can finish my sentence I quickly remember the switch) “ Well I ain’t goin’ cuz I gota lota homework to do and it’s mad drawin’ so ya know I’ma be gettin’ it in.” When I said that I didn’t even feel like myself anymore. For some reason or another using slang shows my maturity level, others see this as not being true. When you go to school and learn the proper way to speak, slag then becomes something that tends to slip out from time to time but not used as much as people thing the average teenager would.

            In a passage Language, a place of struggle by bell hooks she states, “An unbroken connection exist between the broken English of the displaced, enslaved African and the diverse black vernacular speech black folks use today” (298). Some people that are African American tend to use slang but it is often called or considered to be Black English to some people. I believe there is no such thing, as Black English the outside world seems to think so. Just two nights ago I was talking to my dad at the dinner table everybody at the table was finished eating but I still needed somewhere to lead my English paper. So I asked him did he think there was a thing called Black English? He said he didn’t then he started to explain how African Americans aren’t the only people who use slang. The he said, “If you are speaking and it has to be translated because it has such a hard dialect that can not be understood by others then you are speaking slang. There are Caucasian, Spanish, African and all other people of different races who use slang. They have there own way of using it but everybody uses it.” After he said that I had to think for a minute as ask another question that I felt would get me even deeper into writing my essay. “Dad do you think that all black people should know slang? From the video I watched in class, some people in society strongly believe most or all black people use slang. Do you think if you don’t know slang then you don’t know who you are?” “Yes, to a certain extent. I think if you don’t know you own dialect and your own slang then you don’t know your background.” I then had a confused look on my face so then he began to start explaining himself “Not saying you have to use slang but some people are a product of their environment they grew up using slang and always being around it so that is all they know. You should know where you came from.”

            See some people mistake knowing where you came from to stereotyping to speak or have a dialect that they associate with the color of their sink. The first thing that society seems to hit is the vernacular of African Americans. It’s a topic that comes up time and time again because there truly isn’t a wrong or right way to speak nor is there Black English. As you can see when I talked to my dad jumped to the defense of African Americans.

            Have you ever wondered why, when ever dialect is talked about people jump to speaking slang, associate slang with African Americans then say African Americans speak Black English. They evolved that term from saying Ebonics. Ebonics is slang plain and simple. Society on the other hands believes that Ebonics is the dialect of all African American people. Even if you Google search the definition because you have to see it to believe it, it tells you Ebonics in the dictionary is defined as,the colloquial term for African American Vernacular English (AAVE) or a nonstandard form of American English characteristically spoken by African Americans in the United States. This definition matter because it’s so believed to be true that all African Americans speak Ebonics that now it can be researched on the internet for verification. Once something is on the enter net everybody is able to view it. So I figured it all out the reason why African American speak is constantly stalked about because it is the most obvious stereotype that is extremely noticeable. Weather you know a person or not the way they speak becomes very distinctive if you’re not too familiar with it. When you hear a dialect that sounds nothing like yours, you first start to ask yourself why they sound that way and do they know how they sound when they’re speaking. Or if they’re not speaking the stereotypical way of their race the big question then turns into, do they know they’re not talking like their ethnic group. When in fact it isn’t that not one bit. It’s just they way they were brought up or the only thing they know. In my house my dad does not allow a lot of slang because him and my mom both feel that using slag with adults is disrespectful, not the proper way of speaking and most important slag is not Standard English. By Standard English they mainly refer to the way we are taught to speak in school. 

            Sometimes in some way our identities are created for us. By us taking in what we learn from home and the people we are around everyday. They way we speak has different influences on our personality so in some ways, we language allow it to change who we are when we worry about what society thinks. We must forget that society makes an aspect of only Standard English being correct when in reality it is not.