African American Language

Archive for February 2011

For many years and even today we as African-Americans have our own language and our own way of communicating with one another verbally.  Through movies, television shows, and even books African-Americans have been seen to talk and act differently towards individuals who share the same characteristics and values as they do then with individuals that don’t.  Our verbal communication style also sense to change depending on the situation or event that takes place.

This video from the movie Rush Hour “the bar scene” is an excellent example because it shows Detective Carter’s style of verbal communication changing from being loud and aggressive when Detective Lee was present in the room to quiet and friendly after he left.  So it demonstrates how a situation or event can change our style of communication.

When greeting each other most people would just say “Hello…” or “How are you doing?” but on the flip side African-Americans greet each other by saying “wassup” or “Wat’s poppin” depending on who they’re talking to, whose around, and what environment that their in.  Let me ask you a quick question, when was the last time you as an employee said “wassup” or “Wat’s poppin” to your boss?  The answer would probably be NEVER because in that situation you change your verbal communication style so you wouldn’t be looked upon as ghetto or uneducated, come on who would want that on their head.

We as African-Americans have come a long way to make ourselves standout from others but still as a population have no choice but to change the way we speak because we are the number one race being stereotyped for the way we talk and the accents that we have.  In my opinion and in my eye  that’s not right or fair but what can a person do that’s how the world is.

By Shaniquequa Tyler 2/20/2011


We as humans communicate verbally and non-verbally. Nonetheless,  African Americans have various forms through different mannerisms. It appears that “First African-Americans do it, then everyone else does. ” The words and body languages of African-Americans are portrayed highly in the media.  A great example of this is shown below.

Lil Wayne

Ever wondered where  the word “bling-bling” came from anyway?

African-Americans often rely on body language to get a point across instead of actually stating the problem. There are hundreds of different forms of body language African-Americans do in their daily life. Let’s focus on a few of them.

“Giving the Hand”

This gesture means that the person throwing up their hand is not trying to hear anything the other person has to say. When a person “gives the hand” the other person automatically knows that their point will not get across.

“Fist Bump”

This gesture means one of two things. One, you are greeting another person and instead of actually speaking you touch fists with the other individual.  This is often a simple way to say hello in  the matter of seconds. Another way of using this is , when you are acknowledging to the other person that you are impressed with what they accomplished. Examples: passing of a test, winning an election.

As a child, my mother would often use the “give the hand” gesture when she would be conversing on the phone or when I was interrupting something. I learned to keep quiet faster than from my mother stating to be quiet. Thus, we learn what these forms of body languages mean at an early age and use them as we get older.

Other forms of body language African Americans  use is  ” hands on hips.” This form is dominantly used by African American women.

Hands on Hips

This form is used to show attitude. African American women often do this as a way of letting people know they are mad or want to get their point across. African American males usually don’t do this.

These are definitely not all the forms of body language African-Americans use but, these are some of the most common ones.  A person would say that African-Americans are one of few words. Nevertheless, that is not the case.  An understanding is made that a gesture can go much further than a spoken word.

Written by: Raven 2/13/11

I got the headder changed, if you want to change it its under settings.


if you guys want to make any changes it’s all right with me.

a new picture for the header might be nice. Post other suggestions here!


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