Bake That, Linguist!

Posts tagged english
On the use of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) by WOC who are not Black, I think the age old maxim is true in at least some of these instances: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Especially when AAVE is used by WOC in solidarity who espouse similar ideals.




Look I’m not african american. i’m a black caribbean american woman who was born and raised in the bronx. so i speak aave because this is the way black people speak here. and even though there have been caribbean americans involved in the production of certain aave terms, ebonics is still largely an african american legacy. so i have to realize and accept that aave is not mine. you also have to keep in mind the unfortunate tensions that exist between caribbean americans and african americans. i’ve heard some caribbean people say some pretty disparaging shit about black americans while using aave. this is a type of ignorance  i cannot accept. 

so i think that is important to understand that while  the usage of aave may be used because of where you live and the fact that black culture has been spread around the world, we really need to understand who it belongs to: African Americans


us too. be aware!

Reblogged from wocinsolidarity December 29th, 2013 584 notes #freaking thank you #aave #bae #english #dialects


You’re Saying It Wrong

In August, the outcry began. “Have we literally broken the English language?” asked The Guardian. The Web site io9 announced “literally the greatest lexicographical travesty of our time,” while The Week bemoaned “the most unforgivable thing dictionaries have ever done.” The offense? Google’s second definition of the word literally, which had been posted on Reddit: “Used to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling.”

What the linguistic doomsayers failed to realize is that this definition is far from new. People have used literally to mean figuratively for centuries, and definitions to this effect have appeared in The Oxford English Dictionary and The Merriam-Webster Dictionary since the early 1900s, accompanied by a note that such usage might be “considered irregular” or “criticized as a misuse.” But literally is one of those words that, regardless of what’s in the dictionary—and sometimes because of it—continues to attract an especially snooty breed of linguistic scrutiny. It is a classic peeve.

Read more. [Image: Nishant Choksi]

Reblogged from The Atlantic December 24th, 2013 272 notes #literally #figuratively #language #english



Have you guys ever paid much attention historical accents and what texts sounded like in their original pronunciation?  

In college, the professor who taught my class on History of English Lit part I had a KILLER Middle English accent.  One day, he read Chaucer out loud to us…and it was like magic.  The poem, which had always felt a bit lumpy and uneven to me, came alive with an earthy, rhythmic musicality that I’d never heard in Chaucer before.  It completely revolutionized my conception of early English literature—and it also brought alive so many puns and jokes that don’t connect for us in modern pronunciation.  Just incredible.

So you can see that phenomenon here.  This is a really cool video where a pair of linguistic historians who work with the Globe Theatre actually demonstrate what Shakespeare sounded like in (one of) the original pronunciations.  The younger guy is kind of soft-spoken, which can make him a bit mumbly and hard to understand, but the pronunciation makes the plays even more beautiful and gripping.  In particular, toward the end, they recite one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets—and it puts a chill down my spine.  In the original pronunciation, it’s not just a beautiful literary artifact; it’s living poetry, and it tugs at your heartstrings.

 This is such a fantastic reminder of why I love linguistics, and why I love following the evolution of language. Plus, it reinforces one of my deeply held beliefs: the language you use and the way you use language are directly tied to how you can view the world and your place in it.

Also, as a bonus, here’s a video of the Prologue from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales being recited in Middle English, complete with the shifted vowels and rolling R’s.

(via zahnie)

Reblogged from prettyarbitrary December 11th, 2013 664 notes #shakespeare #accent #english







i am reminded that english is a flawed language every time I am forced to use “that that” in a sentence

it’s not fair that that happens

It makes it sound like the English language had gone out to dinner and had had too much to drink.

Get out 

You think “that that” is bad?

Allow Wikipedia to explain you a thing about buffalo.

oh my god

(via theladyem)

Reblogged from quazza November 13th, 2013 327,347 notes #language #english #lol #linguistics

Ramblings of a childlike Goddess...: dionthesocialist: Did you know that African American Vernacular... Link post


Did you know that African American Vernacular English, or Ebonics, has been recognized as a legitimate separate language from English by the Drug Enforcement Agency, but not educational institutions? The DEA did this so they could hire experts in AAVE to document the same…

why am I so surprised by this?

Reblogged from dion-thesocialist September 12th, 2013 1,889 notes #AAVE #BAE #ebonics #dea #language #english


I’m no longer going to say ‘proper English’

I’m going to call it ‘Corporate Approved Vernacular English

Because that’s what it is. There are so many dialects of English out there, and ALL OF THEM ARE PROPER LINGUISTICALLY.

And this one is simply one that is used more often in business settings.

Reblogged from sourcedumal September 2nd, 2013 2,911 notes #language #english

Tumblr, I need help! (No not financial help.)

So as I’ve said before, I’m not gonna talk about what eikaiwa (English conversation school) I work for, because I kinda want this job. BUT, I’m gonna have to teach 4 classes next week that are known for how out of control they are. (aka “genki.”) Two of which, are extremely out of control to the point where they have to send in two teachers. These 2 classes are full of boys who are “physical" towards each other AND the teacher. Actually, toward anyone who isn’t male*.

The lessons that I have to teach these groups are extremely dry and many times, the students will get up to wander around the room or just start doing something that isn’t want they’re supposed to be doing. (Like opening and closing the blinds and trying to jump off of window sills.)

This is my first time teaching these 4 classes, as my supervisor has made this one of the schools I’m to teach at. And more than one person has warned me about these 4 classes, especially the 2 full of boys. I basically don’t even wanna follow the material too closely until I have these kids trained. I want to keep them active for almost the whole class if possible. I only get to see them for 1 hour, once a month, so I need to make a lasting impression—and put the fear of God into them if necessary. Especially since 2-3 of these classes that I have to teach are full of boys are that are undisciplined and have behavioral problems.

I would very much appreciate it if you could message me (or ask someone that you know who is a teacher or has taught previously) with any ideas, suggestions and recommended activities that I can use for these classes. Especially recommendations on how to deal with the students with behavioral issues.

ESL/EFL or even regular English activities/games would be great. (Oh, and these Japanese boys especially seem to love competition games.) But the ones I’ve found so far are kinda wack.

Thank you all very much!

August 28th, 2013 3 notes #help #esl #efl #eikaiwa #english #japan #education #school #language #japanese #teaching #teacher #tesol #tefl
It is an interesting sidelight that our language - created and codified by men - does not have one unflattering term to describe men who vent their anger at women. even such epithets as ‘bastard’ and ‘son of a bitch’ do not condemn the man but place the blame on a woman - his Mother!

Harrier Lerner (via dracofidus)

(I think it is really interesting and worth noting that this is a portion of text I was given for my English Literature work. And that it was picked out by a male teacher for a mostly male class.)

(via theladyem)

Reblogged from dracofidus August 20th, 2013 11,986 notes #english #language #insults #pejoratives

For Eye and Tongue: Language value judgements are biases, not facts Link post



A language is not a single, measurable entity which exists outside of the populations of its speakers. All that exists is the mental representation of that language, however you wish to model it, in the minds of the speakers. Happily, this means…

Reblogged from miniprof August 13th, 2013 454 notes #language #english

Work in progress: estifi: grumpytoad: English is a Germanic language descending from a... Link post



English is a Germanic language descending from a Northwest Germanic language (it’s generally put in a subfamily with Frisian, and sometimes an older subdivision including what became Dutch and certain Low German varieties) with a heavy North Germanic…

Reblogged from grumpyspacetoad August 10th, 2013 354 notes #linguistics #english #germanic #language #syntax

The Development of Swearing Link post


"In the 16th and 17th centuries, meanwhile, the word occupy was commonly used to refer to the act of sexual penetration, which, among other things, places the Occupy Wall Street movement in a whole new light."

(via ricekrispyjoints)

Reblogged from well-meh July 4th, 2013 14 notes #English #languge #etymology #lol

I’m an English major. It is a language of conquest.

What does it say that I’m mastering the same language that was used to make my mother feel inferior? Growing up, I had a white friend who used to laugh whenever my mother spoke English, amused by the way she rolled her r’s. My sister and I tease Mami about her accent too, but it’s different when we do it, or is it? The echoes of colonization linger in my voice. The weapons of the death squads that pushed my mother out of El Salvador were U.S.-funded. When Nixon promised, “We’re going to smash him!” it was said in his native tongue, and when the Chilean president he smashed used his last words to promise, “Long live Chile!” it was said in his. And when my family told me the story of my grandfather’s arrest by the dictatorship that followed, my grandfather stayed silent, and meeting his eyes, I cried, understanding that there were no words big enough for loss.

English is a language of conquest. I benefit from its richness, but I’m not exempt from its limitations. I am ‘that girl’ in your English classes, the one who is tired of talking about dead white dudes. But I’m still complicit with the system, reading nineteenth-century British literature to graduate.

Diversity in my high school and college English literature courses is too often reduced to a month, week, or day where the author of the book is seen as the narrator of the novel. The multiplicity of U.S. minority voices is palatably packaged into a singular representation for our consumption. I read Junot Díaz and now I understand not only the Dominican-American experience, but what it means to be Latina/o in America. Jhumpa Lahiri inspired me to study abroad in India. Sherman Alexie calls himself an Indian, so now it’s ok for me to call all Indians that, too. We will read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to understand the horrors of slavery, but we won’t watch her takedowns on white supremacy.

Even the English courses that analyze race and diasporas in meaningful ways are still limited by the time constraints of the semester. Reading Shakespeare is required, but reading Paolo Javier and Mónica de la Torre is extra credit. My Experimental Minority Writing class is cross-listed at the most difficult level, as a 400-level course in the Africana Studies, Latina/o Studies, and American Studies departments, but in my English department, it is listed as a 300-level. I am reminded of Orwellian democracy: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Monica Torres, “Majoring In English,” The Feminist Wire 3/29/13 (via racialicious)

(via jhameia)

Reblogged from racialicious June 29th, 2013 5,518 notes #language #english