Monolinguals often assume that this kind of switching happens because speakers are not competent in one of their languages - a sort of deficit hypothesis - or because a concept just can’t be expressed in one of the languages - a sort of lexical gap explanation. Analysis of recorded multilingual speech doesn’t support these ideas, however. Speakers who code-switch the most often are usually those who are the most fluent in both of their languages, and there are linguistic rules about where in a sentence a switch can happen.
My favourite part of that Buzzfeed shit was about ‘nigga’. Like 'Ugh, other Black people are so stupid and horrible for wanting to use that word.’
Well, lemme tell yall, I’m a sociolinguist specialising in AAVE and writing my Master’s Thesis on why nigga happened and its social implication.
AAVE is known for semantic bleaching of obscene words so that they can be reappropriated for different purposes. This is why, for example, we add -ass to the end of things, including adjectives and gerunds, to make them more emphatic (e.g. Her long hair havin-ass took 20 minutes to get ready). This is also why we have certain social contexts where it’s okay to use 'bitch’ and 'ho’ and some where it isn’t (à la @katblaque, I thought about this from your video). This has its roots in West Africa, where obscenity is more context based and less lexically linked (a word isn’t always intrinsically a cuss word, but who, how and when someone says it may make it offensive).
It wasn’t until the post-Civil War era when assimilationist Black people decided that using words the white man found offensive was not going to help the cause. Sadly, this ideology persists today.
Nigga has also undergone semantic bleaching, but in a much different way. Black people calling each other nigga is not new, and in fact may even date to slavery. However, in the Africanist way, rarely have Black people as a group taken offence to intragroup usage of the word. There have been individuals who have (and sometimes, these individuals are the most outspoken), but generally it has had a very neutral tone in the AAVE and Black world. However, as recently as the late 80’s and early 90’s the usage of nigga has been politicised, especially through the use of early hip hop, where it was again given new meaning. While nigga had always had nuances of negative, neutral and positive lexical meanings, this was when it was explicity stated on a mainstream stage that Black people can say nigga, white people cannot, and it is because of the usurpation of power. Black power does not entail antiwhiteness, but it does include usurping power from the institution of whiteness. This happens at the linguistic level as much as anywhere else. And in the same way that the LGBTQIA community decided to reclaim 'Queer’, so did the Black community choose to reclaim 'nigga’. Neither. Of course, was a unanimous decision, but they were both generally accepted decisions. What’s more, Black people added an African twist to their reclamation: just as in Africa words are vulgarised by context, so was nigga. In this case, nigga is vulgarised when spoken by a non-Black person.
The social implication then is an anti-assimilationist and Africanist approach to intragroup semantics. It demonstrated unity, power and linguistic pride in the African American speech tradition.
So, @buzzfeed, if you don’t want to participate, that’s fine. Every Black person is allowed to be individual and have their own opinions. But I and many other Black linguists have been pro- (or at least neutral-)nigga for some time. Just wanted to clear it all up for yall.
Lexicity is a website where you can learn the languages of the Ancient Near East including Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Coptic, Egyptian, Georgian, Hebrew, Hittite, Old Persian, Sumerian, Syriac, and even Ugaritic. The site also offers other languages too.
The site teaches you by through various dictionaries, texts, grammars, charts, and aids. I will tell you right now that the resources for some of the languages are quite old as there is no new scholarship on them. Enjoy either way.
John and Jade talk a lot like each other: look carefully. His most distinctive word is “Jade.”
Jade’s most distinctive word is “John.”
Rose speaks the most diversely of the betas. Her most distinctive word is “session.”
Dave curses the fifth most of any character. Unsurprisingly, his most distinctive word is “shit.”
The longer version
John’s lexical density (a rough measure of word diversity and thus vocabulary) is 8.9%, which is low for his corpus size of 34,000 words–he’s the second biggest talker in Homestuck after Karkat with 39,000 words. His cursing rate is 0.41%, which is low, and he prefers to use “shit.”
Jade’s LD is 10.6% from nearly 19,000 words, which is low. Compare John and Jade’s clouds and you’ll see the similarity in their speech. Her cursing rate is 0.12%, which is very low.
Rose’s LD is , 17.0% from about 21,000 words, which is higher than expected.. Her cursing rate is 0.16%, which is very low.
Dave’s LD is 12.6% from about 33,000 words, which is about average for this corpus size. He says the third most of any character in the web comic after John. If it’s not obvious, Dave’s cursing rate is very high at 2.27%. His lexical weapon of choice is fuck, making up 40% of all his 758 verbal bombs so far.
All of the dialog was compiled as one big corpus to which each character was compared to using AntConc. The top five were chosen, ignoring any common or interjective words.
John’s most distinctive words are Jade, dad, Rose, Vriska, and guess.
Jade’s are John, password, woof, Bec, and frog. I usually prefer to remove onomatopoeic words but “woof” was too cute to not include. Most of the woofs come from the time she chased Jaspersprite down the hallway on the ship.
Rose’s are session, Kanaya, grist, question, and null. Three of them all refer to some part of Sburb: the kids’s session, grist of various sorts, and a null session.
Dave’s most distinctive words are shit, fucking, fuck, dude, and fuckin. This makes it very apparent how much more he curses than the other betas.
Excluding John’s own cloud, John is the most frequently mentioned character in all of the other beta kids’ dialog.
A map showing lexical distance (how much similarity there is between vocabularies) among the languages of Europe, from Etymologikon, where you can also see a larger map and in the comments what each of the abbreviations stand for.
For a more detailed historical representation of the relationships between languages, see also MultiTree.
You know, it pisses me off whenever I hear people saying “all words in the English language were made up, so why can’t we make new pronouns?” and “new words are made every day, why can’t people accept my bunself pronouns?”
Let me nerd out for a hot second and teach you guys a little linguistics. There are two lexical categories. Words in the “open” classes are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. It’s called open because new words are constantly added. I can make up a word right now, and as long as it has a meaning and is in an open class, people will be able to use it.
Then there’s the “closed” class. This includes prepositions, determiners, conjunctions, and yes, pronouns. Additions to the closed classes are very rare and difficult to grasp because they are part of the core of a language. You can’t just add things to a closed class because it just won’t work. It takes time to add or change things in closed classes, just look at how long it took for the singular “they” to become acceptable (and even then, it’s not entirely integrated into the English language yet).
That’s why trying to add new pronouns simply does not work.
Since adjectives have nouns covered, adverbs modify pretty much anything else. They’ll modify verbs, they’ll modify adjectives, they’ll modify prepositions, they’ll modify determinatives, they’ll even modify other adverbs. They can usually take “more” and “most,” like adjectives, though they don’t roll with the “-er” and “-est” endings. And handily enough, they mostly look like adjectives with an “-ly” hanging on, so they’re easy to spot. “Happy” is an adjective; “happily” is an adverb. Ditto “cantankerous” and “cantankerously.” Was there ever a chiller, more easy-going category of words?
And yet this category, I tell you, this very category has been most maligned by school-grammar writers, who try to call whole piles of words “adverbs” because they’re not sure what to do with them. Like “before.” Why would “before” be an adverb? It doesn’t modify a damn thing. Yet they look at a sentence like “I saw her before” and say “before” is modifying… what? “Saw”?
This ends now.
“Before” is a preposition. Even if there’s nothing after it.
That’s right: prepositions do not need to be followed by a noun. Many are, sure. The most common prepositions show how two nouns are connected in space or time, like “I saw Claudia in the movie theater” or “I saw Claudia before lunch.” But prepositions can also be followed by a clause: “I saw her before I gilded my oysters.” They can be followed by another preposition: “I saw her ahead of me.” And they can be followed by nothing at all: “I saw her downstairs.”
This is not a new idea, as Huddleston & Pullum point out. Linguists have been working with this since Otto Jespersen first came out with his revamp in 1924. But somehow it has not managed to trickle into schools, where we’re taught that “before” is sometimes a preposition, sometimes an adverb, and sometimes a so-called subordinating conjunction, even though all three times it has exactly the same meaning and works exactly the same way in the sentence.
Earlier, when I talked about verbs, I mentioned that “like” can be followed by an object or a clause, and “eat” can be followed by an object or by nothing. Did you shriek in rage and say that they couldn’t both be verbs, one had to be an adjective or some such bosh? No! You nodded along! Or more likely just skimmed right past it! So we are not going to sit here now and say that “before” fails at prepositioning because it can be followed by a couple different things.
Characterizations of white people single-out “white” skin color.
White-colored, food-based epithets: mayo, mayonnaise, mayo stain, egg, cracker, saltine cracker, tapioca, white bread, wonderbread, vanilla, colgate, sour cream, nilla wafer, whipped cream, butter, marshmellow, cheese cake, cream, or “Kraft.” Other words that emphasize color—or the lack of color: white, pasty, elmers glue, pale, bleached, washed-out, or non-melanin-having. Combinations of these words further emphasize whiteness.
The writers’ derogatory intent is made clear by the inclusion of other derogatory or disrespectful words. White people are stereotyped as plain, characterized with the language of disgust, held up for contempt, objectified, and dehumanized.
White people are stereotyped asplain: plain, bland, basic, mild. Boring, lame, average-ass, mediocre, no-life. Cookie-cutter, typical, generic, run-of-the-mill.
White people are characterized with the language of disgust: disgusting, gross, sickly, crusty, nasty, expired, stale, soggy, moldy, rotten, rancid, spoiled, curdled, sour, atrocious, old, ugly. Hairy, wrinkly, blotchy, wet-dog smelling, stringy-hair, sun-wrinkled.
White people are held up forcontempt: stuck-up, over-privileged, complainy, whiny, cry-babies, flamboyant, silly, irrelevant. Bitch, hoe, cunt, whore, fuckboy, dick-sucking, loser, asshole, fuckwad, meth-head, wannabe. Uneducated, stupid, culture-less, mock-culture, ignorant, redneck, cave dweller, cave bitch, inbred, racist, transphobic, suicide baiting, bigoted. Crazy, weirdo, madness, dog-fucking, beastiality.
White people are objectified: garbage, white trash, toilet seat, powder, mayo jar, mayo tub, mayo bucket.
White people are dehumanized: beasts, corpse-brides, “creation,” demons, devils, ghosts, goblins, mole-rats, vultures, vampires, pig, snow monkey. Many are “white” or pale-skinned creatures, further emphasizing whiteness.
The use of “manufactured” language in the practice of magick can effectively strengthen symbolic efficacy while also intensifying the state of non-ordinary awareness that is critical to a successful working. The following procedure is intended to render normal speech unintelligible, and may be employed to construct
mantric sigils, words of power, or a liturgical language for ritual use. I have developed a more involved method of accomplishing the same, referred to as Psychean Argot, though the procedure herein presented has proven far more expedient. The method is as follows.
Step 1: Construct the statement of intent, chant, prayer, etc.
Torrential rain occurs now
Step 2: Rewrite the statement backwards
won srucco niar laitnerrot
Step 3: Omit double consonants and omit unpronounceable consonant clusters (sruco, laitnerot) by dropping the second and subsequent consonants of the cluster until the word is pronounceable.
won suco niar laiterot
Step 4: Establish lexical stress and use as desired.