“As social phenomena, languages are tied up in world of unequal power relations, gaining or losing status not based on technical linguistic grounds but on social judgement, biases, and stereotypes that are based on the status of their speakers. As such, we argue that white America's love-hate relationship with black modes of communication can only be interpreted within a framework that considers language a primary site of cultural contestation. It should be clear by now that it's about more than a mothafucka, right? Our analysis of Black Language forms that the dominant culture considers inflammatory, controversial, or stigmatized allows us to make several observations. First, building off what anthropologist and linguist Arthur Spears noted in his discussion of uncensored speech, Black verbal culture, like all cultures is "a complex network of predispositions, values, behaviors, expectations and routines." Language practices, in their varying sociocultural contexts, can only be understood if read within the full range of the community's speech activities, and that requires rigorous ethnographic search and analysis. Second the community's beliefs and ideas about language- it's language ideologies- should be the primary point of departure for investigation and interpretation.”

H. Sammy Alim and Geneva Smitherman
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