Tuesday, August 3, 2010

#6: (Not So) Secret Black People Language

Most black people on this side of the world did not, as we all well know, choose to come here. We won't get into that. We had no choice in the languages we speak. Some
lucky ones got the romance languages, the rest of us got German's slightly less harsh cousin, English. (Hey, at least it wasn't German!) Since these languages were forced upon us, we obviously had to adopt them. But since black people are bound by the principle of "doin' me," we do not speak the languages in their proper (whatever that means!) forms-- we took them and made them or own. With English in particular, simply put, the structure of the language does not fit black people's aesthetic. English is a rather ugly sounding language, we're all aware. Black people try to make up for this by at least making it sound cool.

Before we examine Secret Black People Language (SBPL), we must discuss why black people love it so much: SBPL is more efficient and overall better suited for describing the Stuff Black People Like. Think about the use of the word "swagger," (other forms include: swag, swaggin) that has become so popular as black people know it's such an apporiate word to describe the inherent "coolness" ("cool" is also a term made up by black people) every black person obviously has.

Consider the following phrases. I will write the first in English, the second in SBPL:

English: "He's gotta stop showing off for other people"
SBPL: "He('s) gotta stop tryna swag on niggas"

English: "They just started getting all huffy and bent out of shape when I told them the Lakers were gonna beat the Celtics"
SBPL: "They started feelin' some type a way when I told them the Lakers were gonna beat the Celtics"
In the last couple of sentences, you can see that not only is the sentence shorter in SBPL, but more judicious. Feelin' some type a way could mean many things, as opposed to getting "huffy and bent out of shape." The phrase itself gives the listener more room for interpretation.
SBPL is great for black people, because black people love to be up on exclusive shit. Initially, other people will not understand our secret code phrases. When they finally do catch up with us, the old slang has been deaded and we're already on to the next. Black people love being ahead on trends, which is why we stay switching up how we talk. Think of how black people in the '70s were all speaking Jive! Today, if you try and talk Jive to a black person born after 1979, you will undoubtedly receive the regular face.

SBPL is spoken by black people all over the West. It varies from region to region. But what happens in a country where there are mostly black people and few white people trying to understand our secret codes? Creole and Jamaican Patois. Jamaica is an extreme case of SBPL, as it has gotten so out of hand black people from different parts of the country can't understand each other! But it's okay, since the confusion falls under the principle of "doin' you."

Here are some more examples of SBPL in comparison with English:

ENG:"That man is a womanizer"
SBPL (USA):"Dude gets mad shorties"
SBPL (JAM): "Man a gallis"

ENG: "I'll be there in a long while"
SBPL (USA): "I'm around the corner"
SBPL (Trinidad & Tobago): "Jus' now"

ENGL: "She's got a big butt"
SBPL (USA): "She got a fatty" or "She got a donk" or "She got cakes"

But probably the greatest thing about SBPL is that it provokes others to think: "Why can't they [black people] just speak like everyone else?" These people are haters, which are black people's second favourite type of people.

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