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teen slang?  Nope, African American slang English

teen slang? Nope, African American slang English

African American English is the dialect of African Americans. Hip hop and social media have been transcribing jargon and jargon into German for years. He goes to the fact that this is a dialect rooted in history.

by Aisha Aqel

Since 2008, every year in Germany about Youth word of the year Been voted. This year’s social, political and popular-cultural developments can be read among the ten terms available to choose from. It was 2011 with booty For the first time a term was chosen from Afro-American usage as the slang word for youth of the year. The word describes effortless charisma, and an awards ceremony is a natural acquisition of the Afro-American language.

Since then, terms from what is called colloquial African American English have been repeatedly shortlisted. This year, for example, it’s over suckerAnd side eyes And slaughter be identical. Side eye can be understood as a judgmental attitude. Slay is Perpetually Searching for the Youth Word of the Year: It’s a compliment, along the lines of “You’re doing great.” And idiot basically means “ignorant” or “somewhat stupid.”

Thank God for Hip-Hop (and Social Media)

Language’s journey from black communities in the US to Europe certainly didn’t begin in 2011. If Fugees, OutKast, Coolio, and Run-DMC were already on the Austrian charts in the 1990s and early 2000s, the associated language and style resonate here.

Then there was the near-accidental generalization of isolated linguistic words and phrases across the most popular social media platforms. It may have been Vine and YouTube in the past, but today it is Twitter, Instagram, and most notably Tik Tok. These language developments are often labeled “Gen-Z” or “Internet slang”.

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Linguist Alexus Brown is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh and works at the intersection of sociolinguistics and rap music. She explains that rap slang is a special language called the Hip Hop Nation Language. And: “If you take a language out of its cultural context, you lose important parts of the interpretation of certain words or phrases. You can’t even understand some emotions. This is the case with any language translated into another or simply borrowed.”


We are on our own. We are on our own

One of the feelings that is difficult to convey in borrowing is belonging to a particular social group. There are also regional differences in African American English. This explains Tila Miri, who comes from the south of the United States and lives in Vienna. In the country people speak more slowly and swear less. It is a linguistic culture shaped by parents and grandparents. The city is getting faster and bolder, Teyla realized this when she moved to Atlanta.

Here in Austria, far from the everyday context of Afro-American English, Tila notes: “The mainstream, that is, what I hear on TikTok, comes a lot from black gay culture. Something like Slaughter or Oh Queen. That’s what I hear on the Internet.”

So African American vernacular English extends to us the hip hop tracks and pop cultural influence of Afro-American America. Anyway, thanks to the popularity of queer and female rappers, those lines are becoming increasingly blurred.

Appreciate history

In any case, there is an undeniable origin for the Afro-American language: it lies in the transatlantic slave trade. Enslaved people on the plantations of the United States found ways to communicate despite their different languages ​​of origin. With slave owners, but above all with each other. Alexus Brown of the University of Pittsburgh explains that this story of self-empowerment is important: “African-American vernacular English arose from a unique resistance to slavery in America. Anyone who knows these details will find a special appreciation for this language.”

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Therefore, according to Brown, those who know and pay homage to the cultural context of colloquial African American English will also find it easier to move away from cultural appropriation. The truth is that only people who have been brought up in the right language and culture will be fluent in African American English. Everyone else borrows it. And this is rather good.

Teela Miri doesn’t mind accepting African-American English vernacular in German, because the language is constantly evolving. But: “It’s not just Internet slang. People I know and my family speak like that. There are people who have developed this language and use it in everyday life. So it’s not appropriate to make fun of or ridicule him.”