Tuesday, 15 November 2011

British Black English (BBE)

  • The language variety of black Americans or black English speakers.
  • it is accepted that African American Vernacular English (AAVE) or Black English Vernacular (BEV) is a distinct variety of English (rather than a dialect).
  • AAVE has its roots in the slave trade where people captured in various parts of Africa and with a variety of languages were forced to create a pidgin or creole.
  • Eventually this incorporated elements of English so it could also be used to communicate with the slave owners. 
  • Similar origins to Jamaican Creole spoken by Jamaican communities in London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham.
  • After the 1950's there was significant immigration to London as England welcomed workers in its post war expansion and rebuilding.
  • British Black English speakers are finding their own voice in literature such as rap poetry and song.

  • A lot of BBE is written phonetically. 
  • "yuhself" for "yourself" 
  • "dat" and "dem" for "that" and "them"
  • "nuff" for "enough"
  • "respek" for "respect".

    BBE has different grammatical constructions, observe the table.
  • Aspect Example SE Meaning
    Habitual/continuative aspect He be working Tuesdays. He works frequently or habitually on Tuesdays.
    Intensified continuative (habitual) He stay working. He is always working.
    Intensified continuative (not habitual) He steady working. He keeps on working.
    Perfect progressive He been working. He has been working.
    Irrealis He finna go to work. He is about to go to work.
  • BBE speakers also use 'ain't' when using negation. 
  • It is seen a lot in American literature as it represent the way in which blacks' speak - giving them a sense of identity and significance.  

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