Archive for August, 2007

What’s All this Mess About Ebonics?

Written by admin on Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 in Ebonics, Research.

Ebonics (also known as African American Vernacular English) is a readily distinguishable dialiet of American English. The term comes from combining of the words ebony and phonics.  Simililar to common Southern American English, the dialect is spoken in many African American communities in the United States, especially in urban areas. It has its origins in the culture of enslaved Americans and also has roots in England, mixed with elements of West African languages.A linguistics professor at Washington University created the term in 1973, then detailed it in his 1975 book, Ebonics: The True Language of Black Folks[?].

Controversy

It was, briefly, a controversial topic in the United States, mainly over its linguistic status. Proponents of various bills across the country, most famously in a unanimously-passed proposition from the Oakland, California school board on December 18, 1996, desired to have Ebonics officially declared a language or dialect. Doing so would affect funding- and education-related issues. Other opinions on Ebonics range from it deserving official language status in the US, to it being dismissed in precepts consistent with racism, while many non-linguists doubt its status as a distinct language or dialect. Proponents of Ebonics-education believe that African-American students would perform better in school if textbooks and teachers acknowledged Ebonics as a different language or dialect from standard[?] American English. Most linguists and education-experts believe that it is easier to learn literacy skills in one’s native tongue and then transfer it to a different language or dialect. No proposal suggested actually teaching Ebonics; rather, teachers were encouraged to accept that some or all of their students have a non-standard dialect as their native tongue, and to teach standard English not by proscribing non-standard characteristics, but by treating the issue as a need for education in translation. Ebonics also clarified the speech of black students for teachers. For example, it showed that the dropping of the final -d or -t from past participles was not, as many educators had believed, a sign that black English avoided the simple perfect (since speakers of Ebonics use irregular preterites appropriately).

As a language develops, its use by isolated and diverging people also becomes isolated and divergent. “Ebonics” is largely based on the Southeastern American-English accent, an influence that has no doubt been reciprocal as the dialects diverged. The traits of Ebonics which separate it from standard English include: Changes in pronunciation along definable patterns, distinctive slang, as well as differences in the use of tenses. Some of the changes can be traced to common similarities among West African languages.

Sociologists, linguists and psychologists generally believe that it is common for oppressed people (as, for example, African slaves in the Americas) to adopt a radically different dialect from their oppressors. This is done to subtly rebel against the oppressor and his culture, and to differentiate themselves, as well as to foster pride among their community. Slaveholders, and white Americans of more recent years, generally considered the changes in speech to be due to inferior intelligence. While many aspects of Ebonics seem like simplifications of standard American English, there are unique aspects that help make Ebonics as complex as any other language or dialect.

Characteristics of Ebonics The most distinguishing feature of Ebonics is non-standard tense aspects, which can indicate the habitual nature of the performance of the verb. In standard American English, this can only be expressed using adverbs like usually.

  • The invariant use of be is used to describe a habitual action (e.g. He be eating rice, meaning he regularly/frequently/habitually eats rice); this may be derived from creole dialects which use does be similarly, common in Gullah, Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados. The word steady can also be added to form the present intensive habitual progressive (i.e. He be steady preaching, meaning He is often/habitually/usually preaching in an intensive, sustained manner).
  • BIN (a stressed form of standard been) is used as a marker indicating that the action was begun at some subjectively defined point in the past. (e.g. She BIN had that house, meaning She’s had that house for a long-time and still has it); this is called the present perfect progressive with remote inception. Speakers of standard American English often misinterpret this tense, believing that, in our example, the woman no longer has that house but used to have it.
  • A non-stressed bin indicates the present perfect progressive (i.e. He bin talking to her, meaning He has been talking to her).
  • Be done is used as a tense marker to indicate the conditional perfect, a future in the hypothetical past (e.g. Soon, he be done fixing the leak, meaning Soon, he will have fixed the leak)
  • The present progressive (He is running) drops the form of to be (He running)

In addition, negatives are formed differently from standard American English:

  • Multiple negations (e.g. I didn’t go nowhere) are common in Ebonics, but considered unacceptable in standard American English (see double negative)
  • The -s verb ending in the present tense third person singular is dropped (e.g. She write poetry)
  • If the subject is indefinite (e.g. nobody instead of Sally or he), it can be inverted with the negative qualifier (turning Nobody knows the answer to Don’t nobody know the answer, also adding multiple negation). This emphasizes the negative, and is not interrogative, as it would be in standard American English.

Other grammatical characteristics:

  • The -s ending indicating possession is usually dropped, with the genitive relying on adjacency. This is similar to many creole dialects throughout the Caribbean Sea.

Some of these characteristics, notably double negatives and the use of bin for has been are also characteristic of general colloquial American English.

See also:

External Links

a resolution from the Linguistic Society of America (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/ebonics.lsa) in support of the Oakland school board’s decision


Black Kids Rock Band

Written by admin on Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 in Music.

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An interesting name for a rock band, they are called Black Kids.

They are from Jacksonville, Florida.

 Their myspace page is:  http://myspace.com/blackkidsrock

Band members are:

Owen Holmes
Kevin Snow
Dawn Watley
Ali Youngblood
Reggie Youngblood

CINCINNATI, March 14 A U.S. study has found African-American children with asthma are more susceptible to the toxic ingredients of tobacco smoke. The study, published in Chest, reports African-American children with asthma who are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke have greatly higher amounts of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their bodies. Lead author Dr. Stephen Wilson of the University of Cincinnati and colleagues from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center examined 220 tobacco-exposed children with asthma who had previously participated in the Cincinnati Asthma Prevention study. All the children had physician-diagnosed asthma and were exposed to at least five cigarettes per day in or around the home, according to Wilson. African-American children may ‘handle’ environmental tobacco smoke differently than white children, so these results raise questions as to whether there are racial differences in other tobacco toxicants, as well, Wilson said in a statement.

Twin Sisters are Black and White – A Rare Occurrence

Written by admin on Tuesday, August 21st, 2007 in Mixed Children.

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A mixed-race British mom gave birth to twins recently – one of each. Not a boy and a girl. Two girls – one black, the other white. The odds of such a birth are about a million to one, experts said. It was a shock when I realized that my twins were two different colors,” Kylie Hodgson, 19, told London’s Daily Mail. “But it doesn’t matter to us – they are just our two gorgeous little girls.”
When Kylie Hodgson gave birth to twin daughters by caesarean section, both her and partner Remi Horder were relieved that both had arrived safely.

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As the midwife handed over both girls for Kylie to hold she noticed a difference in their colour. Remee, who weighed 5lb 15oz, was blonde and fair skinned. Her sister Kian, born a minute later weighing 6lb, was much darker.

‘It was a shock when I realised that my twins were two different colours,’ said 19 year-old Kylie. ‘But it doesn’t matter to us – they are just our two gorgeous little girls.’

Both Kylie and partner Remi Horder, are mixed race and though it may be no surprise to many mixed-race families to have children of different shades, it is a much rarer occurrence in twins.

According to the Multiple Births Foundation, baby Kian must have inherited the black genes from both sides of the family, whilst Remee inherited the white ones. The odds against of a mixed race couple having twins of dramatically different colours are apparently a million to one.

The twins were born by caesarean in April last year because one of the girls was lying in an awkward position in the womb.

‘I didn’t see them at first,’ added their mother. ‘They were both whisked away to be checked over and then the midwife came back and placed them both in my arms.’ ‘I noticed that both of them had blue eyes,’ said Kylie, ‘but whilst Remee was blonde, Kian’s hair was black and she had darker skin. It seemed strange, but I was feeling so ill that I didn’t really take it in at that stage.’

The next day she mentioned the colour difference to her mother, who told her that Remee’s skin would darken as she grew older. But as the weeks passed, Remee became lighter still while Kian went darker. And while Remee’s eyes stayed blue, Kian’s turned brown.

‘There are some similarities between them,’ said Kylie. ‘They both love apples and grapes, and their favourite television programme is Teletubbies. If they haven’t seen each other for a few hours, they are so pleased to see each other and will hold out their arms, wanting to hug each other. And their smiles just light up their faces. I’ll explain it all to them when they get older about why they look so different.’

Some may argue that Remee and Kian are black and white but to those who know better they are just mixed-race twins.

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Prom Checklist – Make Sure You Are So Fresh and So Clean

Written by admin on Monday, August 20th, 2007 in Prom.

Off-to-Prom Checklist

download list here 

Ready to go to the biggest event of your high school career? Well if you are,

here are a few reminders before you head to the prom.

? Date- Make sure your date is reliable and someone you.d want to spend a

whole evening with.

? Date.s Outfit- Should complement yours

? Dress- Hopefully, you.ve been looking months in advance. Try on as many

as possible to see which one suits your body type.

?Alterations/Fittings- If you need extra help with your dress, search for a

good dressmaker. Some upscale department stores, as well as some

neighborhood, family-owned cleaners, will do alterations.

?

Accessories- The basics

? Shoes- comfortable, for hours of standing and dancing

? Bra- fits properly, conforms to backless/strapless dresses

? Jewelry- necklace, earrings, rings, hair clips

? Purse- small and correlates to dress

? Corsage- Can.t go to prom without it!

? Purse Essentials

? Mints or gum ? Money

? Lip gloss and powder ? Safety pins

? Feminine products ? Clear nail polish

? Needle and thread ? Dental floss

? Hair pins ? Spot removers

? Cell phone ? Pain relievers

 

?

Appointments

? Hair- A professional stylist is always best; make an appointment

early in the day.

? Nails- manicure or pedicure

? Waxing- eyebrows

?

Tickets- Who.s buying them?

 

? Ride- Confirm reservations if renting a limo or car.

? Your Wheels-If taking your own car, make sure it.s sparkling.

download list here

African American Prom Hair – Curly Ponytail Style

Written by admin on Monday, August 20th, 2007 in Black Hair.

African American Hairstyle - Prom Hairdo for Medium HairThe beauty of this style is that it is extremely versatile.  You can actually make the curls as large or small as you would like.  Instead of pinning medium curls in a circle around your ponytail, you can actually let the curls fall in loose tendrils from the center of your ponytail.Or you can make very small curls that you pin at the back of your ponytail in a soft waterfall effect.

The great thing about this style is that you can simply move the ponytail back or forward on your head and then adjust the size and placement of the curls according to your tastes.

Both of the two models above and to the side have very small tight curls carefully arranged from a ponytail at the back of their crown areas.  

The curls are arranged more towards the direction of the neck rather than towards the forehead.  The model at the top has also pulled out a few wisps of hair to form tendrils while the model to the side has added a small jeweled rhinestone tiara to decorate her small collection.

Both models show how versatile the very same basic ponytail can be.  You can make large curls, small curls, add tendrils or jeweled headbands or jeweled tiaras.  The choice is yours and depends on the dress that you have selected and the image you wish to convey.

African American Prom Hairstyles: Secret Discoveries

Written by admin on Monday, August 20th, 2007 in Black Hair.

Black Hair Prom HairstyleHey girl!  Are you ready to make your debut at the prom?  You know your hair has to be on point!  So let’s look at some ways you can make an entrance and have perfect hair for the perfect party pics!

First of all, black people know how to take care of their hair.  We are always styling our hair with the latest and most unique hairstyles.  And the rich texture of African American hair allows for numerous styling options.  Black hair is the only hair on the planet that can wear multiple styles.  If it weren’t for your black hair, you would not be able to wear cornrowns, twists, dreads, afro, jheri curls, relaxers, wraps, updo’s, ponytails, french braids, and more!  Just think about it!  God gave black hair the advantage of never being boring.  Black hair is a lot of fun to style for a formal occasion such as a prom. This hair type also, due to its coarse texture has the amazing capacity to really hold a shape allowing for many exciting and varied looks.

One classic option is along the lines of a traditional Marcel wave. This is done with a

Black Hair African American Prom Hairstyle Updo

heated iron, and the hair is first smoothed and gathered in curls close to the scalp. This gives a very elegant 1930’s feel. It is very sleek and streamlined and compliments almost any ensemble. The hair can also be augmented with decorative accessories such as jeweled barrettes or hairpins. This look works best on shorter bobbed hair or longer hair that is gathered at the nape.

Another traditional option for a sleek look is to have hair straightened with a heated flat iron to give a uniform smooth and shiny texture. Hair can then be gathered and pinned up in an up do. It might also be worn smooth and straight. You might want to consider a simple elegant headband, or a jeweled tiara, with the hair caught up in a simple bun, or twist at the crown of the head.

Another great choice is a classic French twist with the bulk of the hair gathered at the neck. This gives such a glamorous, yet simplistic refined look. Hair can be heavily pomaded for shine, or also dusted with a glittering powder in a metallic hue. For a more playful look, you may wish to play up texture. This leaves so many options open. The hair can be braided throughout, and adorned with beads. It can also be parted and partially braided and flat ironed for an interesting combination of texture. Curls can be played up with an iron, creating smooth thick ringlets all over the head.

Another option is crimping the hair with an iron, or braiding while wet and then leaving in over night. When the braids are loosened, hair will have a light crimped texture that can be primped up with a spray to boost volume. This works best for finer hair, and can give a wild and full on wild disco queen look. Hair can also be teased out and shaped to create fullness, and height. For a dramatic diva look it can be pulled up and gathered at the top of the head in a high twist reminiscent of the 60s. Faux pearls really play up this look well, simply pinned throughout. You might also wish to augment the hair with the addition of a hairpiece.

A great idea is to simply gather all the hair together at the crown, pin it and then attach a piece that is a simple fall or ponytail. A straight ponytail works great with the addition of a braid anchoring it. The natural hair is braided around the hairpiece, and it creates seamless length. This looks quite elegant. {Think classic Madonna or Josephine Baker} Temporary coloring is also an option, using various glimmer powders and or sprays to create texture and light play. These products are available at a local beauty store. Hairpieces that are a complementary color can also be added for contrast and drama.

It’s your night to shine so play it up! Allow yourself to be creative and playful! This is your ball after all!   And remember that as soon as prom is over, African American hair can be whipped into the next style so that you can show up the next week looking like a diva all over again!



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