neyronrose (neyronrose) wrote,

rambling about English language

I saw parts of a Tumblr discussion of use of African-American Vernacular English and appropriation.  I have to watch that I don't slide into it if I'm talking with a couple of people or a group speaking AAVE.  I've been called on it, too.  I remember especially a time years ago, when someone said to me, "Listen to that accent you got going."  I realized then what I was doing.  That was long before I knew there was such a thing as Tumblr.  Later I did some independent reading on AAVE, when I was volunteering at a city high school where just about all the students had it as a first dialect.  I still have a couple of books from that time, John R. Rickford's African American Vernacular English: Features, Evolution, Educational Implications and African American English: A Linguistic Introduction, a textbook by Lisa J. Green.  I'm trying to remember what other books I read.  I think at least one by John Baugh.  I found those books very interesting and enlightening.  Even with some awareness, there are still words and phrases I don't realize are appropriative.

I figure that if I get corrected, I should take it to heart.  It's much harder to change my thinking on appropriation than it is to change what I say.  It's difficult for me to frame saying the wrong things as other than "being ignorant," although when I use it mentally there's something of an excuse in there along with the judgment.  I have a consciousness of the different definitions, too.  I keep revising what I'm writing, and any way I put that particular mindframe, it sounds awful.  I think I'm better than I was, but I need to actively work on being better than I am now.  Knowing two dialects doesn't mean I should speak both, even if I think both.    
Tags: rambling

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