Talkin' Bout Talkin'-- Some More
I'm in a seminar for the next three days. May get to post, may not. So what we have for you today is some extra goodness. With all the talking about language that's been going on over the last couple days, I decided to sit down and have a chat with my "tag-team partner" in this endeavor, Ambra. here are the links to the "discussion" as it's taken place over the last week or so. me - 12 August - Stats Is High Ambra - 16 August - So You Say I Talk White me - Talkin' Black So what we have today is an edited transcript of an IM conversation we had on the topic of language and "talking white" and whatnot. So before you get to the goodness, here's a couple things you need to know. Ambra is the one speaking standard English. I'm the other one. I'm big on idioms and shortcuts. Here's the breakdown: Yahmeen = you know what I mean y/m = yahmeen jawn = can hold the place of any noun, most frequently refers to a woman, however it could be anything. Watch the context carefully. iono= I don't know. Avery: so the other day, you was talkin bout you talk white, right? then I started breakin it down into regional differences, as well as racial. yahmeen, so you think sometimes them two get confounded? like I had a reader point out that within MS, black folk and white folk got different vocabs, cadences, and whatever, so within that specific area, i could be said to be talkin "white" even though if i went up to illadelph soundin like 'an one of em, they'd say i sounded anything but white. Ambra: Right. So yes I do think that there are regional distinctions that are separate Avery: but then race can also layer on top'a that. cuz you got the traditional new yawk accent, right...the BK jawn. Ambra: Yes and that's thick Avery: but even wit a white cat and a black cat from BK, you gon' hear the new yawk jawn, but you still more'n likely gon be able to tell who's who. Ambra: Okay you're pullin' strong Gully talk right now Ambra: But I think for me the distinctions are more with words and phrases and less with accents Avery: yeah, vocab's a big part of it too...but y/m, wit hip-hop takin over like it has, the lines are blurry. Ambra: The lines are blurry how? Avery: cuz hip-hop give "black" speech, which for you means mostly vocab and idioms, a wider audience and it's appropriated on more levels. Avery: Zack be tryin'a keep it real so he talk like Fiddy (50 Cent). Avery: cuz you know it's white cats that be usin nigga self-referentially. Ambra: That's a whole other phenomenon Ambra: But what about the Puerto Rican aspect of hip-hop's roots? Avery: what about it? Ambra: Umm, nevermind, just wondering if you thought there are ways their speech filtered itself into the genre or if hip-hop is 100% driven by black culture Avery: naw, the latino brothers and sisters definitely made some contributions and done been integrated, y/m. Avery: hip-hop, at least the MC'in portion is still mostly driven by colored folk cuz look, there's only a certain type of hip-hop speech that's gonna get mainstreamed, anyway. Avery: i done heard white cats call themselves nigga, but i ain't never hear no 5%-type talk where they callin each other 'god' Ambra: This is true Avery: or 'wise intelligent' or whatever. Ambra: Yeah now you're gettin' deep...but back to the topic Avery: so yahmeen, it's all a matter of proximity. Ambra: Expound Avery: so aiight, if craig done lived his whole life around molly and zack 'nem, that's what he gon sound like cuz that's what he always hear. Avery: ain't no affectated element to his speech, y/m, that's just him. Ambra: but see I somewhat disagree because I think there are often built-in differences in vocal range by ethnicity Avery: Nope. Ambra: You're just gonna say "nope" and leave it at that eh? Avery: naw... Avery: i'm sayin', let me adopt li'l young lou or whatever...i bet that joker sound just like me. Ambra: perhaps Avery: not the specific vocal range, but inflection and diction...guaranteed. Ambra: I absolutely believe that children/people/etc. easily adapt to the style of speech they're immersed in Avery: sho nuff. and they can pick up what they wanna pick up, too. Ambra: what I'm saying is, I believe that there can be certain inherent vocal differences based on cultural background. Ambra: this is what I was getting at in my last post Ambra: hmmm...okay the only example I can think of is not really related but hear me out... Ambra: Samoans...I'm just going to put it out there....they're big people. They're not overweight, but they are not built according to the traditional image of the bodily frame our society projects Avery: yeah... Ambra: To put it plainly, 'round my neck of the woods, we'd call it "big-boned", or if you really wanna get real, "big-boneded". Vocally, they often sound different too. I have a hard time thinking this is just based on atmosphere.... Avery: do they still be speakin they native language or just english? Ambra: English, well, both, but mostly English...so I'm still working on this theory, but I believe God really has created different races of people for specific purposes.. Ambra: This is rather politically incorrect to say I know, but it only makes sense Ambra: I use the Samoans as an example because some of the differences are so blatant. I know there was/is/will be a greater purpose for why He created them to look and sound they way they do. Okay so that was rather scattered, but I'm hoping you kinda catch where I'm going. In some of my travels I've come across black people of varying backgrounds. It AMAZES me that no matter what country, there is still that tinge on the vocal chords that resonates in me that they actually sound black.....even with british accents Avery: sorta...but not always. look at'cha boy Keyes. if you heard him before you saw him, it'a be over when you came around the corner. Ambra: Right, I call him out as an exception Avery: but it's a whole lotta them. Ambra: And there are lots of exceptions (said simultaneously) Avery: yahmeen. Ambra: That's why I've never made it a blanket statement. I say "often" you can tell, but not always Avery: but what i'm tal'n bout is, they ain't really exceptions. Real deal is you can't really separate language from other interactions. Ambra: okay then, 50/50 Ambra: Can't separate language from other interactions? Explicate Avery: cuz like at Parablemania last week or the week fore last or some'n, Jeremy was tal'n bout Black folk in Nova Scotia and how they ain't have NO trace of nigro speech, but they a self-contained community and been that for a long time. Ambra: Define Negro speech Avery: sbv...or for you, the "black" sound in the voice. Avery: however you wanna take it, y/m. Avery: they sound like white canadians, i'm sayin'. Avery: can't distinguish em from around the corner. Ambra: NOOO Avery: yeahhh. Ambra: see this is what I'm saying...SBV and the black sound in the voice are not one in the same in my opinion Avery: i get that. that's why i said however you wanna define it. No matter what criteria you use, you can't tell the differnce. Ambra: But often I can. Avery: aiight, holmes. Ambra: I'm not saying it's a straight shot. But I do think it's worth consideration. I find it hard to believe that if voice is not affected by the body you're born into. Avery: peep game: Ambra: Your eye color is, hair grade is, why not voice? Ambra: (peeping) Avery: when a baby is born, it babbles in all the sounds the human voice make. Avery: so you know it's certain sounds that's made in the chinese language that native english speakers can't hardly make Ambra: yes. Avery: but if you take young tyrone, before he learn to talk, when he still babblin, and send him over to shanghai or whatever, then when he start talkin, he gon make them exact sounds. Ambra: (you and assigning these names...it's hilarious by the way, this conversation has been politically incorrect for about 25 stanzas now.) Avery: and then when come over here, his english pronunciation is gon' be dictated by the fact that his throat muscles is used to constrictin themselves in certain fashions and not others Ambra: I'll give you that.....but Avery: so when he get around craig and smokey 'nem, he gon sound chinese. Avery: same thing wit my li'l rainbow tribe. Ambra: Males and females have different sounding voices. Avery: right, but that's a matter of pitch and frequency. Ambra: are you sure that's it? Avery: R Kelly can't sound like Marvin Gaye under NO circumstances, y/m. Ambra: And Jaleel White can't sound like Barry White Avery: zackly. Avery: but they both black. Ambra: But they both have deeper voices than I do Avery: right... Avery: which is a matter of frequency. they got longer vocal chords. Ambra: soooo then, it's not just a matter of pitch and frequency, and what determines who gets born with longer vocal chords? Avery: how? the frequency of the vibration of the vocal chords is what determine the "depth" of the voice, holmes. Ambra: I'm not as dumb as I may be letting on....holmes Avery: naw, hardheaded...look at it like this: Ambra: so frequency and vibration of vocal chords comes via the stork? Avery: riiiight... Ambra: wrong Avery: how don't they? Joker born w/ that. Ambra: Exactly Avery: but a racial "sound" ain't based on frequency. Avery: watch this: Ambra: Are you going to turn on a television or something? Avery: when them british "soul" singers make a record, they take black mannerisms and stylizations. Avery: e'ry once in a while, one of 'em do it so good you can't really tell. like lisa stansfield back in the day. Ambra: Oh brother Avery: but sooooon as the record go off and don cornelius get to interviewin' em, you know what the deal is. Avery: and f'real-f'real, it ain't even gotta be soundin black necessarily, they just sound american. Avery: when the needle come off, they sound british as they did in the first place. Ambra: I agree with all of the above Avery: that's somethin' you learn how to do. Ambra: So you don't believe that under any circumstances a person's vocal intonation is determined in the womb? Avery: nope. Avery: they hear they mama talkin that way, but until they start tryin'a talk, they don't drop the unused sounds. That's howcome you supposed to expose your kids to as many languages as possible as early as possible. Ambra: So if I'm a male, and I am raised purely around females, I will have a female-sounding voice? Avery: they don't know NOT to use they voices in certain ways. Avery: nope. a woofer can't be a tweeter no matter what you do to it. Ambra: translate please (for the other sane people who may read this) Avery: ...well, as long as it's not surgically altered. woofer=bass part of the speaker. tweeter=treble. Ambra: duh. Avery: the woofer is bigger cuz it carries waves on a longer frequency. Ambra: So then you admit there is an aspect of vocal intonation that is determined in the womb. Avery: nope. that ain't intonation. Ambra: Okay, then let's pick a different word. I'm not liking that one either Avery: put it like this: i'm bout to make up a number. Avery: say my voice is 970 khz. Avery: that don't change. Avery: whether i call my mother's sister "aint" "awnt" or "ant" depend on who i grow up around. Ambra: Errrrrr Avery: yuuup. cuz if you hada growed up in ms'sippi, you'd be talkin bout aint janie just like er'body else down there. Avery: what's an accent? Ambra: Yes, the above is agreed. What I'm saying is that if your 970 khz voice is formed in the womb (well, actually way prior to then if you want to get theological about it), and clearly it is based on being male or female, but why couldn't race play a factor in that just as it does with all our other features? Avery: nope. Ambra: "What's an accent?" Save that convo for another time Avery: cuz race ain't really what we think it is. Ambra: Of course it's not, which is what I'm getting at. Avery: we categorize people based on a certain set of phenotypical traits, but it could be a whole other bunch of things. Ambra: It's entirely socially constructed, in fact I think there are more distinctions between "Earthsuits" as I like to call them then we give credence to Avery: iono...we like .2% different or some'n. Ambra: This is because it's politically incorrect to say such things like certain races of people may be more physically inclined in certain areas Ambra: But why not? Ambra: This earth is huge and God created different groups of people for distinct purposes Ambra: Black Africans are dark for a reason Ambra: Samoans are big for a reason Avery: yeah, cuz they be in the sun. Avery: and high yellow is high yellow cuz they got some white in 'em. Ambra: White people don't get as easily cold as we do Ambra: I mean these are all things that are DIRECTLY related to ethnic origin. Avery: maybe not, iono. i be the first one gettin cold. Ambra: Don't argue me on this one...I've read numerous studies..HA Ambra: In which case, you're really a white man Ambra: Ah HA! I knew it. Avery: sorta, but i bet a white person born in africa get cold before a black jawn born in seattle. Avery: why? cuz that's what they used to. Ambra: Remember, there are no black people in Seattle Avery: yeah...cept sir mix-a-lot, the sonics, and the seahawks. Ambra: But the point I'm making is all evidence proves that the lighter persuasion didn't originate in Africa. Okay, well actually that's a slippery slope...but again, the Garden of Eden is not what we're talking about here, but you see what I'm gettin' at Avery: everybody from africa. awwwwlll y'allll. (c) Tre Styles. Avery: yeah, but i'm thankin that on the real, it ain't that much science to it. it's all a matter of variety. Ambra: Whatever you say Avery. You're the man. Avery: God coulda made it so every man was 6', 175 wit 7% body fat. Ambra: I'm just opinin' here. Ambra: Stretchin' the mental capacity Avery: so anyway, he could'a made it so e'ry woman looked like Halle. Avery: that ain't how it went, tho. Ambra: It really does us no good to speeculate on how God coulda made people. Point is, he didn't...so why did he do what He did Avery: hypothetically speakin, yes-- i can see the argument that different peoples may have developed different talents/abilities. Ambra: I shall spend the rest of my life on that particular quest for knowledge...such is the process of Him restoring humanity back to Himself Avery: i read some stuff on this before. Ambra: I'm sure you have So that's where I'll cut it off for now, although the actual conversation went on longer. Please don't hesitate to weigh in. There may be some actual hard research out of this eventually. In the meanwhile, enjoy.