Respecting AAVE: The Value of a Wider English

Known to most through popular culture, most prominently in hip-hop, rap and R&B, AAVE—or Ebonics, if one prefers—is a set of grammatical constructions and sound systems that characterizes the variety of English natively spoken, particularly in urban communities, by most working and middle-class African Americans. One can distinguish AAVE through its phonetics, which include a dropped “r,” making “your” sound like “yo” or a substitution of “ch” for “th,” wherein “with” becomes “wich,” tendencies that compel many to dismiss it as crude “slang.” However, AAVE is not a simplified version of English; on the contrary, it contains many complex grammatical structures that makes it a fascinating dialect of English which deserves far more academic recognition.

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Playing the Believing Game

I find myself somewhat amused to realize that my biggest learning experience of 2019 has its roots in Dr. Von’s Intro to Ethics course—before we even cracked open the textbook. Rather, it was the first homework assignment, a relatively short reading titled “The Believing Game—Methodological Believing” by Peter Elbow.

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