I. Opening: FIRST HYPE PRESENTATION
II. Next Hype Presentation: TERESA (click here for the schedule)
III. General Announcements
This week, we go all the way back to slavery and look at the distinct meanings of literacy and language for African Americans. We will suggest here that African American rhetoric takes on distinct meaning here--- within the terms of a very distinct relationship to reading, writing, and communicating.
part I: IMAGINING SPOTSWOOD "Spots" RICE
On September 3, 1864, Spottswood Rice wrote two letters as a Union Army Soldier: 1) to his children still held as slaves of a Missouri woman Kitty Diggs; 2) a letter to Kitty Diggs herself.
Before we read what Spottswood Rice actually wrote, imagine this: You are a UNION ARMY SOLDIER who was recently enslaved. All you have now is your freedom... and pen and paper.
What do you think Spots will say to his children who are still slaves? OR, what do you think he will say to their so-called "owner"?
Write out what you think is in these letters.
Class Discussion: How do your guesses compare to the letters that Spotswood Rice wrote? Click here for the letters (or on image of Union solder above)
Part Two: imagining black grammar...
1. HABITUAL BE
"Despite the stereotypes, people who use this feature do not use it in all sentences with the be verb, and they do not suffer from a lack of ability to conjugate be. Rather, uninflected be is used only to refer to habitual or regularly occurring actions...Note that Standard English does not have a special form of the be verb to indicate habituality. It uses an adverb or adverbial phrase with the verb to indicate this meaning (We usually play basketball; She often works late)." click here for source
3. 3RD-PERSON SINGULAR-S DELETION
"Another common feature of AAE is omitting the –s with verbs following a third person singular subject (compare Mainstream English I jump, you jump, we jump, they jump--but in AAE, it is she jump vs in ME, it is she jumps)." click here for source
5. REMOTE PAST MARKER
"This (stressed been) communicates that not only is something the case, and not only is it completed (ie. perfective aspect), but it has been for a long time. example: "he been got a job." meaning: he got a job a long time ago." click here for source
2. COPULA ABSENCE
"AAE speakers will occasionally omit any form of the verb to be in sentences that require a form of to be in Standard English. Example sentences would include She going or They hungry. But am and past tense was and were are never left out; thus you would never hear sentences like *I going or *They hungry last night. (The asterisk that precedes these sentences is a convention that linguists use to mark forms that would not be characteristic of a particular speech variety.)" click here for source
4. DOUBLE NEGATIVE
"Also common in AAE is what is called double negatives, as in We don’t know nothing bout nobody." This is common in Shakespeare and the like but is used especially for emphasis in Black Language. click here for source
6. PRETERITE HAD
"This refers to grammatical constructions that do not use had (ALWAYS USED IN NARRATIVE, but use the simple past: "he had went to work and then he had called his client." meaning: he went to work and then he called his client." click here for source
Now take the BL Grammar Quiz and see how you do...