Reading HW due Wednesday, 11/13 by 7:49 AM

Read James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” on page 88 of your reader, and answer the following questions in the comments section below.

*Please make sure to bring this reading to class, as we will work with it extensively.

  1. What is Baldwin’s thesis about the role of language?
  2. When was this piece written? (Hint: there is an index on the last page of the book). Do you feel that it is still relevant today? Why?

15 thoughts on “Reading HW due Wednesday, 11/13 by 7:49 AM”

  1. 1. Baldwin’s thesis about the role of language is that it defines the speaker.
    2. This was written in 1979. I do agree with some of his arguments, and think that they still apply today. For instance, I agree with the fact that a language defines the speaker. Additionally, I agree with him when he says “what joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life…” (88). I think some of his arguments apply to now a days and some do not.

  2. 1.Baldwin’s thesis was that language reflects the situations and circumstances you were raised and live in, in many cases creating a separate distinct language different from the one that it was originally adapted from

    2.This piece was written in 1979 and generally, i think it holds up completely fine in the modern political age, granted some of the slang is no longer used. Many of the topics and examples used still exist (like the french one) and are completely valid when used in this argument. I think this is very important in a world that is more connected now than ever as it shows how important language is to people and their general understanding of themselves and their surroundings.

  3. 1) James Baldwin’s thesis is that “Language, incontestably, reveals the speaker” the language spoken by someone defines their experiences through life and what was passed down to them by the many that came before.
    2) This piece was written during 1979. I believe that this piece still holds true today in relevancy. I have seen many examples where language defines ones experiences myself included using vocabulary from the things I have read/watched and speaking in a manner similar to my parents adapting into my own style of speaking based off of the experiences I had.

  4. 1. Baldwins’ thesis is that language showcases the speaker because of the role of languages in society.
    2. The piece was composed in 1979 and I believe it is still relevant today. I find majority of his arguments to still hold up to today, even if some of the language he described is now outdated. His point still holds value today because language is most definitely shaped by our experiences and our upbringing; and his examples back this up.

  5. 1. Baldwin’s thesis is that the language defines who the speaker is as a person; their values, experiences, and identity.
    2. The piece was written in 1979 and for the most part I do believe the ideas are still relevant today. I think language is definitely something that is a huge factor in a person’s identity. It ties back to your roots and culture. Language is also definitely something that is a result of your experiences; where you grew up, who you’ve met or where you’ve been. Even today, you can pick apart a person based on the way they speak. It defines who you are for the most part.

  6. 1. Baldwins thesis on language is that it reflects who the speaker is, and how/where they were raised. A person judges another based on the way they speak much more than most people would imagine, and Baldwin goes into great detail about this throughout the essay. He states, “…language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identity…”(88 Baldwin)
    2. This piece was written in 1979, and I do think it still holds a great relevance in today society. Language is still important to many people, and the fact that he goes into different accents, as well gives an example with the Frenchmen living in different places which makes it hard for them to understand others of the same language, makes his argument even more on point.

  7. What is Baldwin’s thesis about the role of language?
    When was this piece written? (Hint: there is an index on the last page of the book). Do you feel that it is still relevant today? Why?

    1. Baldwin says that the role of language is to reveal the identity of the speaker. This identity can show as to where the speaker is from due to the different dialects as compared to the origination.

    2. Although the piece is written in 1979, it can be still interpreted to today’s meaning. At that time was a social struggle in society between whites and blacks as discussed in the segment, however it can be related to the many minorities around today that have specific dialects and can be associated to where they are from without even personally knowing them.

  8. 1. Baldwin’s thesis about the role of language is that it is “the most crucial key to identity” and that language is used as a political instrument and a proof of power.
    2. 1979- This is very relevant to current times because language can show where people are from and what their culture is like. 

  9. 1) Baldwin’s point on language is that it defines the trait of the speaker.
    2) This was written in 1979, and I do agree with the fact that our language is part of our personality. The language or the way we speak is determined by what society we grow up in. He states on page 89 that “A language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity, and the rules of the language are dictated by what language must convey.” There are different types of language that people use, but the problem is that if someone with a foreign accent speaks to another person with another accent then it will be hard for them to engage with each other.

  10. 1) Baldwins thesis about language is that the specific language and accent you speak with identifies you as part of a group.
    2) This was written in 1979. It is still relevant today because language is the most important aspect of being a human being. We need it to communicate to identify with something and to survive. Language in itself is always being changed according to who is using it and where. This is and will always be something we need to understand.

  11. 1. Baldwin’s thesis about the role of language is that in the eyes of society, language has a huge role in defining an individual.
    2. This piece was written in 1979 and I do feel that it is relevant today to some extent, as in the last forty years a lot has changed. I strongly support the idea that language plays a huge role in defining an individual as I have personally found out in life, if you don’t know how to speak a certain language your quickly put aside like an outcast. I have also noticed language usually connects to someone’s cultural background and sometimes their religion, so it almost directly defines a person.

  12. 1. Baldwin’s thesis is that language is what makes the speaker unique and their own person.

    2. The piece was written in 1979 and I feel that it is relevant as his French example on how different places around the world that have the same language would have issue communicating. It could also be used for English with slang form different parts of the United States and in other English speaking countries.

  13. 1-James Baldwin’s thesis is that language defines a person. He refers to where they come from and how they were raised. Language can provide others with that information without the speaker telling us.

    2-This was written in 1979 and I believe this is still relevant. “it is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: it reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity”. I strongly agree with this because our language defines where we are from and how we are. Language itself can communicate many things to a person that were not necessarily saying to them. It also helps us connect with others and to separate ourselves into groups where we see fit into or not.

  14. 1. Baldwin’s thesis about the role of language is what shows a person’s identity.

    2. This piece was written in 1979. It is relevant because I agree with the fact that language makes a difference in a person’s identity and what group they are considered to be part of/accepted to. The language was just as relevant back then as it is now, not much has changed when it comes to language.

  15. 1. Baldwin’s thesis on the role of language is that it reveals the speaker but also defines the ‘other’ which in this case is the black diaspora. The standard American English does not recognize the black community because of history and their circumstances.
    2. This piece was written in 1979 and still holds relevancy in the contemporary world. Although English is the leading language of America we still see the effects of the Black diaspora not being recognized in black English. Slang and Ebonics are regarded as a separate language rather than standard English, yet used by the white community also.

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