“You ain’t gon do shhhit!”
“What does that mean?”
“You’re not going to do anything.”
“Bitch I air you out.”
“And what does that mean?”
“She’s going to curse her out.”
I took a walk around the neighborhood with my best friend and saw two girls arguing. We stopped and gathered the crowd around them to see what the argument was about. In my mind I already knew I’d have to be the one translating for Chrissy. The two girls were both black and looked older than us, about sixteen or seventeen. With us being thirteen, and Chrissy not getting out much, she had never heard that kind of language before.
“If that’s what they mean, than why don’t they just say that?”
“You ask to many questions, shut up and listen!”
The sound of an angry parent lurked the air and immediately everyone splits. After about 5 minutes of running, Chrissy and I decide to both go home. Walking into the house I started to think about what Chrissy said. If the girls really meant what I explained to Chrissy than why didn’t they just say that.
Most who look down on blacks refer to the way they speak as “slang” or “nigga talk” but for me it comes natural because it’s the way of English I speak most often. My language does change a lot depending on my environment. With friends and family my age, I use “slang” because we adapted to that language as we grew up. When with them, I replace the “th” in they, that, them, their, there, and they’re, with a “d” creating “dey, dat, dem, deir, dere, and dey’re”. When in a professional environment I annunciate my words more, creating the more standard way of speaking English. “Yes, I agree with you completely.” rather than saying, “Yeah, you right you right!” Speaking more formal gives me power because it gives others a chance to hear my voice for more respect.
That wasn’t always the case for me, I use talk “white” growing up in private school but, some of them use to say I talked funny.
“Can you pass me a napkin please and thank you.”
“Why you talk like that?”
“So white, what you half white or something?”
“No my mom taught me to always speak as if I’m educated.”
Being much younger then, about the age of nine, I didn’t fully understand why other kids my age didn’t pronounce of their words.
It all depends on their environment because that’s what shapes you. You can’t choose your first language, its kind of chosen for you at birth. Whatever native tongue your parents or guardians speak is the language you learn first. After you learn to fully speak a language you make it your own in a way, by choosing the way you want to speak it. Speaking with confidence in mind, shows power and giving off that demand for respect.
If Black English isn’t a language; Then tell me what is? By James Baldwin, he says “The argument has nothing to do with language itself but with the role language.”. This quote shows that a language is a language but differs by the way it’s spoken or who it’s spoken by. Saying “Who you talking to?” in “slang” shows people in today’s society that you have little to no respect or are uneducated because you leave out the “are”. By saying “Who are you talking too?”, it shows you have higher class and a decent amount of education.
Language shows your character and creates an identity for us individually. It also varies in our environment depending on the people around us, forming our personality. Language makes us who we are today and shapes us as we use it.