Tuesday, December 21, 2010


How ironic that I'm discussing this after my last post. But whatever. So I took my kids swimming at a local aquatic park. When we got there, it just so happened that there weren't anymore seats left for parents to watch. My initial (absolutely first) thought that popped into my head to ask the staff were these words: "ya'll ain't got no more chairs up in here?" ( I think it was just my mood) And I had to laugh because my "filter" would never allow it to come out that way.

And then it dawned on me how easily I could turn that dialect on instantly without thinking. It's almost like lazy-talk. Like the way non-native english speakers or those with a southern dialect,etc. have a stronger accent when they are tired. It doesn't sound forced, or fake. But if you've ever heard a white person try to do it, it always sounds very fake and contrived.

Actually I always knew I could bust out in this dialect, but what dawned on me was that it came so natural like, without even trying. Yet at the same time i don't have to* try* to speak proper,sounding" white", as some would say.

So I'm wondering if all black people have this so called "ability". Do you?



I don't have the black thing but I have the Mexican thing where if I'm around "homie" types I catch myself ending words with "ey" or "huh" or using words like "simon" (yes) or "orale" (right on). Alrato! (peace out or bye)

Thank, Q said...

It sounds fake when I do it. I have younger cousins who crack on me some times and claim I sound "white". I laugh and just tell them that I sound "educated". I can turn the slang on/off, but the dialect just isn't there for me and I have no regrets of that at all.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes notice/worry that what black Americans call "dialect" is illiteracy. While you may be able to switch from "dialect" to standard English, many black Americans cannot. Many simply don't know that the phrase "we was" is simply incorrect.

Durene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dee said...

I'm black, but I don't have an accent like that. I don't get why a lot of black people seem to have that accent. Where does it come from? My accent is pretty neutral.. but maybe its cause I've lived in multiple places in multiple countries. In England I had a British accent, in Cameroon I got the Cameroonian accent, and now in America my accent has mixed and just become neutral. I'm 17 btw

KNWill said...

It's called code switching and most black people even if they do not talk like that on a regular basis because of the likely hood that someone in their family or experience does or has spoken like that they are able to code switch. I can do it and will sometimes if I'm upset, but usually only in my head. However, if I'm out with friends there may be a subtle code switch.

Joyann said...

This is something that I can't do. If I spoke like that, I would sound "fake", and I'm betting anyone around who could speak like that, would laugh at me for attempting to do so. I'm Afro-Caribbean, and I can switch between standard English and broken English/patois, though. So instead of saying "Ya'll aint got no more chairs up in here", I'd say something like "yu no ave no more chairs in a ya".

tasnei said...

Here's a question I've always wondered... how can ther be females who talk naturally in a valley girl accent when it wasn't really around prior to the 80's??

Anonymous said...

code switching, as mentioned already, is pretty common. there are different audiences and different messages for communication. i think it's odd to speak the exact same way every single time to just anyone. there's a way that you speak to people at a meeting, and there's a way that you speak to your friends at a baseball game.

i think that code switching amongst some black folks is just easier to notice because what black folks do is so heavily dissected and scrutinized. for the most part, everyone code switches to some degree.

and yes, i code switch. i hella code switch. i do it online in forums too, when the time calls for it. it's almost like being bilingual.


Chauny said...

Ya got that right sis! But we do what we must in this white mans world, don't we? :) Great Blog. Keep rolling that pen sista!


Gee Gee said...

I definitely think most, if not all, black people have this ability. It's like being bilingual, lol. Mine usually comes out when my daughter's misbehaving, haha.

Robert O'Meara said...

Everybody does it. I am a WM and my wife is a BFM. Code switching has its place in the world. We all use it as a means of better communications, to set others at ease. However, I hate the WM, WFM that feel they must match word for word what is being said as if they lived in the same hood.

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