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Talkin and Testifyin: The Language of Black America (Waynebook)

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0814318058
ISBN-10: 0814318053
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

In this book, Smitherman makes a substantial contribution to an understanding of Black English by setting it in the larger context of Black culture and life style.

From the Publisher

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 lifestyle. 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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Waynebook (Book 51)
  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814318053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814318058
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The issues that arise from American neglect of issues of language diversity have historically created barriers to the education of many children. Smitherman's classic text is a lesson in understanding how children begin schooling at different places, with different strengths to be tapped and explored. While it might be critiqued for being overly essentialist, it is a critical step in allowing non-African Americans (and may African Americans, too!) some insights into the history of a fascinating and rich linguistic tradition. I would consider this book an absolute MUST READ for anyone going into classrooms to teach. These are important ideas to consider and, politically, they get far to little time in the popular media. For a starter overview, let me also recommend Delpit & Perry's edited volume, _The Skin That We Speak_, with Smitherman as further explication to the overview presented there.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although it is supposed to be focused for a general audience, it's sometimes boring, and sometimes dry and hard to understand.
It is not a bad book, but not for casual reading.
Great for those studying linguistics.
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Format: Paperback
During another foray into the world of attempting to get a Master's Degree (ended up with two Bachelor's satisfying my interest the fine arts and legal administration) I enrolled in Dr. Smitherman's course because at that time I was interested in Speech/Communications (I think I've always been more interested in becoming a linguist but didn't know it.) When I got the book, I read it all in one day! It was fun to see words dissected and deconstructed with serious intent. The book is entertaining as well as enlightening. I was already well-versed on probably 75% of why 'Black English' was actually a language (I never thought of it as a dialect, only.). But I had a head start. My best childhood friend and I were both visual artists as well as writers. We began drawing and writing "black" and critiquing each other's work at the tender age of 10! We always pulled A's in standard English classes because we knew two languages. So finding validation from a professor who uses both and publishes was a premature heaven for me. I became uncustomarily a bit reserved because I felt my obvious enjoyment was seen as not taking things seriously. But I was then and even 'school' others on the subject now. In fact, I am known as the first person to publish a book for young people explaining 'code-switching.' Dr. Smitherman is among those I thank for causing me to do.
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Format: Paperback
I don't really consider Ebonics to be a language, but since I had to read this book for class, I guess I could call it interesting... I wouldn't recommend this book unless it was required.
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