Slang or nonstandard form of the English language that is used by some in the Black community. The National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide advises journalists to avoid using the form in news copy.

[Dr. Geneva Smitherman, a sociolinguist and Black studies scholar at Michigan State University, identifies African American Language, or Ebonics, as a system of “Africanized semantic, grammatical, pronunciation, and rhetorical patterns” unique to the Black community, according to 100 Questions & Answers About African Americans. Universally embraced words, phrases, and actions such as the “high five” come from Black language and cultural practices.

Other names: Black English, African American English, African American Vernacular English.

For more about Ebonics, read “What is Ebonics (African American English)?” by John R. Rickford on the website of the Linguistics Society of America.]




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