Essay - Analysis of 'If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell...

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Analysis of "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?"


This paper will look at the argument presented by James Baldwin in his essay called "If ***** English ***** a L*****nguage, Then ***** Me, ***** Is?." This ***** will discuss ***** logical soundness ***** the author's case by exam*****ing his line of reasoning and his use ***** evidence. Paying attention to writing style, structure of the argument, evidence provided ***** what is inferred ***** h***** use of tone; this paper will examine Baldwin's message.

The Author's Argument

***** Baldwin makes ***** argument language itself is not the issue but the role of language and its relationship to people in society. Basically his argument is that language is born out people's use. He writes, "Language incontestably, reveals ***** speaker. Language, also, for more dubiously, is meant to define the o*****r" (par. 1). ***** defines "other" as someone "refusing to be defined by a l*****nguage that has never been able to recognize him" (Baldwin, par.1). Does this mean that language applies to people in different ways? That one person using a certain ***** can totally reject it ***** invent a new ***** out of the old? B*****ldwin seems to think so and continues this stance by offering a solid ex*****mple. He elaborates that people from different French speaking countries use French ********** to a point the French being used has a different context for the setting. "A Frenchman living in Paris speaks a subtly ***** crucially different language from that of the man liv*****g in Marseilles" (Baldwin, par. 2). He uses this element of context to back up his argument about ***** acting the same way. How does he do this effectively? Could this ***** prove ***** element ***** context applies not only to nationality but also race?

He believes language acts a universal tool ***** humanity despite the issue of *****. He **********, "What joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death" (Baldwin, *****. 3). In th***** regard, he believes with knowledge of language comes power and it ***** be used a political **********. He reflects ***** there is a time and place for its use, "reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity" (Baldwin, par. 3). He explains *****cause language is powerful, ***** it c*****rectly ***** important and could ***** life or ***** in certain situations.

***** the individual ***** brings to language their style of articulation. ***** explains his argument also applies to English. The variations found are less to ***** with physical surroundings ***** ***** to do ***** class, ***** and the ***** between the two. He comments that he ***** ***** "know what white Americans would sound like if ***** had never been any black people in the United States, but *****y ***** not sound the ***** they sound" (Baldwin, *****. 4). This only solidifies the idea that one language can feed


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