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Talkin and Testifyin

The Language of Black America

by Geneva Smitherman

African American Studies, By WSU Faculty, Language and Literature, Linguistics and Rhetoric, Race and Ethnicity

Paperback
Published: January 1986
ISBN: 9780814318058
Pages: 298 Size: 5.5x8.5
Illustrations: 15 black and white images
Review

An important milestone in our understanding of the richness and sophistication of language and language use among Black Americans.

— Orlando L. Taylor

In her book, Geneva Smitherman makes a substantial contribution to an understanding of Black English by setting it in the larger context of Black culture and life style. In addition to defining Black English, by its distinctive structure and special lexicon, Smitherman argues that the Black dialect is set apart from traditional English by a rhetorical style which reflects its African origins. Smitherman also tackles the issue of Black and White attitudes toward Black English, particularly as they affect educational policy.

Documenting her insights with quotes from notable Black historical, literary and popular figures, Smitherman makes clear that Black English is as legitimate a form of speech as British, American, or Australian English.

Geneva Smitherman a distinguished professor emerita and director of the African American Language and Literacy Program at Michigan State University.

An important milestone in our understanding of the richness and sophistication of language and language use among Black Americans.

– Orlando L. Taylor, Acting Dean, School of Communications, Howard University

A full view of the Afro-Caribbean history that illuminates the special evolution of the Black Vernacular in America.

– William Labov, Professor of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania