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Black English, also known as African American Vernacular English (AAVE) or African American Language (AAL), refers to language shared by many Black Americans. It is not merely slang, although its speakers may use slang, nor is it bad or broken English. It diverges from common English in predictable, rules-based ways, influenced by origin, contact, community, and settlement.

My Word is Born

Michael from Sherman Oaks, California, says that as a teacher in New Jersey in the 1980s, he heard students saying My word is born, meaning “You better believe me,” and later shortened to simply word. The research of linguist Geneva...

Seditty, Saddity

Semby from Los Angeles, California, wants to know about the term saditty, also spelled seditty, which refers to someone who is stuck up or puts on airs. Used almost exclusively among African Americans, this term may simply be a fancy pronunciation...