lundi 23 avril 2012

If Black English isn't a Language, Then tell me What Is ?


The main topic of James Baldwin article is basically concerned with language. The author  affirms that the language someone speaks reveals and reflects who he or she is. He claims that language is a critical key to identity. Once you open your mouth, you may be  confessing your parents, your youth, your school, your self-esteem, and your future. Even though there are common languages within certain places, people can speak a "subtly and different language" than others who are  from another place. Baldwin illustrates this through an example based on his observations of people who speak the French language; "A Frenchman living in Paris speaks a subtly and crucially different language from that of a man living in Marseilles; neither sounds very much a like from a man living in Quebec although the 'common' language in all these areas is French."

Baldwin also talks about the evolvement of the African American language and how it has influenced the language of the White Americans. The evidence he provided to this is the example of how the White Americans have adopted the Jazz Age. Throughout history, African Americans have only been viewed as slaves to their masters; they were considered as servants with nothing to contribute. Thus, the author addresses his argument: "If this absolutely unprecedented journey does not indicate that black English is a language, then I am curious to know what the definition of language is to be trusted." At the end of his essay, Balwin offers us the  information that White Americans were not interested in educating African Americans; if a child was to be educated that he could no longer be black and that he knows he could never be White. But if the White American language is influenced by the African American language, why would an African American child need to be educated by a White American? The aim of Baldwin's argument is to inform his audience about this matter and for the black English language to obtain recognition.

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