Ebonics Debate

Louis Etcheveste
Ebonics Debate
The language we speak is a crucial part of our identity. It is the language of our families, our country, and our state, even our neighborhood. People have been killed for speaking the language of their forefathers. My father’s family speaks Basque; a language that was prohibited in Spain while my grandmother grew up. Despite being imprisoned for speaking their language the Basque people secretly taught their children their language. It is not the language of Spain but it is their language. A Persons identity is directly related to their chosen language. In England everyone speaks ‘English’ but each area has his or her own distinct accent. These accents offer clues as to the economic status and educational level of the speaker; this is also true in the United States. Native Californians speak a different dialect than someone from Mississippi. Yet we all live together in one country. In December of 1996, The Oakland school board made a very bold move, one that will forever leave its mark on education. The Oakland school board approved the use of Ebonics or what linguists refer to as African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Linguists and the Oakland school board recognized Ebonics, as it’s own distinct language. The language of Ebonics is most commonly spoken in inner cities consisting of a high population of African-Americans. The term Ebonics originates from two words ebony meaning black and phonics, which means sound. Combined the term means black sounds and refers to the urban language of African Americans.( Williams ) There are many opponents who claim Ebonics is not its own language, instead they refer to it as “ Lazy English, Bastardized English, Ghetto slang” and so forth.. Currently, our inner city kids are scoring dismally on standardized testing. We need to find a way to connect them to standardized English not because their language is somehow inferior but because it is through language that one…

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