#EngClass: A glimpse of African American Vernacular English (AAVE)

Hi, fellas! Are you familiar with the term ‘ebonics’?

‘Ebonics’ refers to the term ‘African American English (AAE)’ or ‘African American Vernacular English (AAVE).’ And yes, African American means that this ‘ebonics’ or ‘AAE’ or ‘AAVE’ is used by African American people (atau orang negro).

Some people also call this language as ‘Black English‘ or ‘Black Vernacular English (BEV).’ But let’s call it ‘AAVE’ from now on.

The exact history of the origin of AAVE remains unknown. However, there are two hypotheses about the origin of AAVE. One is the ‘dialect hypothesis’ and the other is the ‘creole hypothesis.’

Dialect hypothesis

The dialect hypothesis is the belief that African slaves, upon arriving in the US, learned English incorrectly and these mistakes have been passed down through generations.

In other words, dialect hypothesis says that AAVE is just ‘bad English.’

Creole hypothesis

Creole hypothesis is the belief that modern AAVE is the result of a creole derived from English and various West African Languages. For those of you who are confused about creole. Here’s one example: bahasa Betawi is a creole derived from Melayu.

Hence, creole hypothesis beliefs that African American people adjusted the English language into their native tongue called AAVE.

That’s a glimpse of AAVE theory. Let’s jump into the examples now. Enjoy!

  1. AAVE: Sup | English: How are you?
  2. AAVE: Dope/dizzle | English: Good
  3. AAVE: Off da hook/hizzle/hizza | English: Very good
  4. AAVE: Whack/whizzle | English : bad
  5. AAVE: Peeps | English: People
  6. AAVE: Pimp’d up/pimp’d out | English:Well dressed
  7. AAVE: Phat/Fly | English: Good
  8. AAVE: Shortiez | English: Children
  9. AAVE: Chicken head/pigeon | English: Ugly woman
  10. AAVE: Check yo’ self | English: Watch what you say or watch what you are doing
  11. AAVE: Eat cake | English: Get lost
  12. AAVE: Bling-bling | English: Flash jewelry
  13. AAVE: Nasty | English: Not good
  14. AAVE: Get over | English: Take advantage
  15. AAVE: Krunk | English: Exciting

Compiled and written by @Patipatigulipat at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, August 24, 2012

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