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Word Count: 749
Importance of Black English Black language is a primary symbol of cultural identity and is a source of much of the Afro-American expressive culture in existence and is a central part of rap and poetry Rap music has its beginnings in inner-city Black neighborhoods and though the role of Chicano musicians in the early history of rap is beginning to be recognized Del Barco 1996 its most prominent exponents have been African-American for the most part The history of Black English its origins and sources is as contested as its present role in education Meaning that society would rather use Black English or Ebonics as a second or third language for the purpose of Standard English in education In many cultural arenas language is tied to identity and sense of pride Just as the history of Black people in America has resonated with the sometimes-opposing forces of assimilation Black pride and integration Black language is used and evaluated in a number of different ways These varying uses correspond to different social and economic classes and geographic areas For example some African-Americans use a variety of Black English exclusively While others who might see the term Black English itself as an essentialist term and use Standard English exclusively As JLDillard has pointed out some Standard English speakers claim themselves as Black English speakers for variety of reasons Dillard 1975 To me it seems the term Black English still isnt clear so I begin with Geneva Smithermans vague definition of Black English as Euro-American speech with an Afro-American meaning nuance tone and gesture Smitherman 1977 I think that this short definition is quite confusing and creates a fair number of problems because although Black English does contain some English words which have Black meanings the majority of words and phrases are identical to their Standard English counterparts Smithermans definition does not include the syntax of Black English which regulates the distribution and ordering of words
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