African American Language

Difficulties with communication

Posted on: March 8, 2011

One of our greatest abilities as Humans is the power to convey meanings or ideas from one person to another. Even if  it is a great new idea, or you’re opinion on what you should have for dinner that night; our ability to use language is a key part of our daily lives. language stated out simple enough, just to convey basic feelings or ideas across to our peers; but as time went on we developed more things to tell each other and more complicated ways to do it.  This, along with differing cultures and different languages, can cause a lot of confusion in the “listener” or even the “speaker” even when trying to pass on a very simple idea.  Even within the same culture, geographical separation and cultural differences can make it hard for one individual to understand another. For example, it is understood in our country that a person from the north may have a hard time understanding someone from the south.  Differences in the same language (Dialects) can make it difficult to communicate because  words may, be pronounced in a different way, be used in different ways, or the dialect may even have some words that the other person may be unaware of.

Even within a geographic area, there are different cultures within them, and since this is a African-American Communications blog. I will focus on interactions between Whites and African-Americans.  Since the two cultures are different, each also has its own dialect of American English.  For example, African-Americans have a wide variety of words they use that are unfamiliar to whites that would most likely not know of these words unless they had been immersed in both cultures at one point in their lives. Most  African-Americans seem to not have this same issue, because as we discussed in class, they seem to be more immersed in the white culture and language.


I would like to open this now to the readers, some things to think about would be other examples of differences in language causing communication issues, personal experiences, or whatever else you want to post!


Hope I gave you something to think about

Ethan Grunst

This youtube video goes over what I was speaking of in the first paragraph, and also discusses what the american populus considers ” Correct” American English. This video was not exactly what I was looking for, but it does help illustrate some of my points.


1 Response to "Difficulties with communication"

(EMMA LUTZ) Most of the miscommunication among people of different races and different cultures results from an individual’s lack of knowledge about a person that is different from them. Many examples of differences in communication interpretations between Blacks and Whites are discussed in chapter 3 “Fighting Words” of Kochman’s “Black and White Styles in Conflict.” The different interpretations that Blacks and Whites give to Black aggressive speech is due to the differences between the cultural groups. To Whites “fighting” begins when there is intenisty of anger or insults or when violence is imminent yet before the violence actually occurs. However, to Blacks “fighting” does not occur until physical movements begin. Blacks distinguish between argument and fighting. Blacks and Whites have different definitions of “fighting” along with different ways to handle a situation. When Whites become angry, it is viewed as a loss of self control by other Whites and the situation is difused by splitting up the opponents. Contrastingly, Blacks believe in keeping the opponents together and allowing them to communicate or engage in struggle. Blacks believe allowing the opponents to work it out is less dangerous than splitting them up. Due to cultural differences, Blacks and Whites have different ways of defining and dissolving “fighting”. This leads to misinterpretation when there is cross cultural communication.

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