English Major here to say Fuck Your Grammar Policing

English Major here to say English has a TON of different dialects! In the US people are often looked down on for speaking in a southern accent and/or using southern vernacular. BPOC are looked down on for speaking AAVE (African American Vernacular English), people who have roots in other places are looked down on for speaking “broken english” or for returning to their mother tongue in public because its more comfortable. And there are so many more examples across the country. The examples I bring up are the ones I have seen personally. But heres the thing: all these versions of English are VALID!

Language is one of the systemic racisms in America: AAVE (African American Vernacular English) is actually a real language with its own grammar structure. It is a Creole language which means its a language formed out of a blending of languages. it has structure and its own grammar. Though this language isnt taught in schools it is still valid and structured, think about when you say a certain phrase and it just sounds wrong even if we cant cite the grammatical reason why. someone speaking in AAVE is not inherently uneducated. you cannot make assumptions about that persons character simply because they speak the language of their people. Many black people choose (EDIT: choose may be the wrong word here: often feel forced) to speak “Standard American English” around white people but then shift to AAVE around other black people. this is no different than someone from a Non-English speaking country speaking English around Americans and then speaking their native tongue around their people. So if you are someone who judges people based on the way they talk, i invite you to do your own research on language and broaden your horizons. Audible Great Courses has a book that covers this and many other dialects. It is called English in America. I found it fascinating and eyeopening.

Once upon a time the Southern Accent was considered closer to British English and therefore more “proper” than Norther English! Now people tend to look towards Northerners as being more “proper”

All vernacular (“slang”) has its proper usage and grammar: if you use it incorrectly the people who speak it will know you’re not from around there. for instance when i first moved to Carrollton, GA with my cali mother i was taught the word was “carol-ton” and when people asked where i lived and that was the answer i gave them they literally didnt believe i lived there so i learned to say something more like “care-ul-n”

There are 2 types of dictionaries: A descriptive dictionary is one that attempts to describe how a word is used, while a prescriptive dictionary is one that prescribes how a word should be used (ie descriptive is our connotation, our actual usage regardless of the “dictionary definition” where prescriptive is “proper use”) The Oxford English Dictionary is actually intended to be descriptive! It was created to give validity to every word not just the ones seen as “proper”; it was created to be an ever changing work. And this is just damn BEAUTIFUL.

Language is ALWAYS morphing! (dont believe me? i dare you to try to read Middle English without a translation guide: “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,/ The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, /And bathed every veyne in swich licóur/ Of which vertú engendred is the flour…” Chaucer’s Canturbury Tales still English I swear!)

I absolutely love my language and i hate it! I often think it is a constricting language with too few words to describe the nuance in life concisely. Its confusing as hell to learn as a first language (doubly so as a second language) and then people cite their connotations as the only real and valid meanings of words without realizing language is a living entity that SHOULD shift with the times (side note singular “they” has been used since the 13th century but how many people scream that “they” is only for multiple people)

but my point you ask? that there is no such thing as “Proper English” there is your home dialect, there is your regional accepted speech, and then there is the universal version that all fluent English speakers will understand. They are ALL right! they are all Valid! Anyone who judges your accent or your vocabulary is an asshat!

Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *