3-13-12 Chp 10
Research on the Literacies of AAVE—Speaking Adolescents

First thought—Being African American, I didn’t realize that we had so many names to describe our language and dialects.

For this blog response, I’ll list statements that I find most intriguing and interesting and why.
  • Cooks and Book writes, “We use the term AAVE to refer to a variety of English spoken primarily by lower and working class African American” (141). For whatever reason this statement does not sit too well with me. How many families did they interview? I wonder how and where they gathered their information such as school districts, communities, cities, states, etc. Was the entire article written from observation only? To me, this article seems as though it is mostly observation and not enough one-on-one interviews.

  • They also write, “AAVE is not simply slang or speech with grammatical mistakes. . .(141).” Some of those grammatical mistakes are not mistakes but correct AAVE. For example in my family and those we associate with will use the phrase “How’s Mama an’nem (and them)? The ‘nem (them) is very well understood between the speaker and the listener. The latter is usually looking for an update about all the happenings since he or she has been gone. The speaker runs through the list of people that the two of them know. The last person on the list is usually the one that both of them really want to talk about.

Finally, this article just made me sit back and shake my head. Does saying “How’s Mama an’nem (and them)?” make me, my family, friends, and associates lower and working class African American? Does it make a difference that such phrases are used by doctors, real estate agents, business owners, lawyers, etc.?