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 Language, Then Tell Me, ***** Is?." This paper will discuss the 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, ***** provided ***** what is inferred by h***** ***** of tone; this ***** will examine Baldwin's message.

The Author's Argument

James 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 ***** born out people's use. He writes, "Language incontestably, reveals the speaker. *****, also, for more dubiously, is meant to define the other" (par. 1). ***** defines "other" as someone "refusing ***** be defined by a ***** th*****t 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 and invent a new one out of the old? ***** seems to think so and continues this stance by *****fering a solid example. He elaborates that people from different French speaking countries use French differently to a point the French being *****d has a different context for ***** setting. "A Frenchman living in Paris speaks a subtly ***** crucially ***** language from that of the man living in Marseilles" (Baldwin, par. 2). He uses ***** element of context to back up his argument about English acting the same way. How does he do this effectively? Could this ***** prove the element of context applies not only to nationality but ***** race?

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

***** the individual speaking brings to language their style of articulation. ***** explains his argument also applies to *****. The variations found are less to ***** ***** physical surroundings but ***** ***** do with class, race and the ***** between the two. He comments that he ***** ***** "know what white Americans would sound like if ***** had ***** been any black ***** in ***** United States, but they would not sound the ***** they sound" (Baldwin, *****. 4). This only solidifies the idea that one language can feed


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