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The primary purpose of language is to communicate messages from person to person. African American spoken language is a combination of indigenous African languages and American English. Because of the nature of enslavement and denial of education, many people of African descent “caught” words by hearing them, formed derivatives, and combined the words with languages already spoken. The legitimacy of the spoken language of African Americans has been misunderstood, demeaned, and criticized; psychologist Robert Williams attempted to eradicate some of the confusion surrounding African American speech by giving it a name: Ebonics.

Historical Background

African American speech patterns are often expressed with different orality and nuances than those one might encounter among speakers with different cultural backgrounds. Within the African American community, ...

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