AAVE Use by White American in 8 Mile Movie

GALUH MUSTIKA

Abstract


AAVE Use by White American in 8 Mile Movie


 


Galuh Mustika


English Literature, Faculty of Languages and Arts, Surabaya State University


gylleo_mcorli@yahoo.co.id


 


Adam Damanhuri, S.S., M.Hum.


English Department, Faculty of Languages and Arts, Surabaya State University


adamdamanhuri@gmail.com


 


ABSTRAK


Meski AAVE adalah bahasa Inggris yang digunakan dengan logat tertentu oleh kaum kulit hitam di Amerika, namun banyak warga kulit putih yang juga berbicara dengan bahasa ini, terutama mereka yang berasal dari kelas sosial bawah atau menyukai budaya orang kulit hitam di Amerika. Subjek dari skripsi ini adalah Jimmy, seorang kulit putih yang menjadi karakter utama di film 8 Mile. Film itu sendiri bercerita tentang usaha Jimmy dalam meraih pengakuan sebagai rapper kulit putih di antara popularitas rapper kulit hitam lainnya. Jimmy dianggap memiliki fitur bahasa dalam logat AAVE karena keterlibatannya dengan teman-teman kulit hitamnya serta identitas dirinya sebagai penggemar musik Hip Hop, salah satu jenis musik yang dipopulerkan oleh kelompok anak remaja kulit hitam di Amerika. Tujuan penelitian ini adalah untuk menganalisa fitur-fitur AAVE dalam ucapan Jimmy di dalam film. Deskripsi penelitian terdiri dari (1) apa saja fitur-fitur AAVE features yang diucapkan oleh Jimmy, dan (2) mengapa Jimmy menggunakan fitur-fitur AAVE yang berbeda pada karakter-karakter tertentu di dalam film. Dalam melakukan penelitian, penulis menggunakan metode deskripsi kualitatif, theori AAVE dari Green (2002) dan Rickford and Rickford (2000), serta teori social variation dari Holmes (2001). Analisis data melibatkan proses (1) mengklasifikasikan kalimat-kalimat ucapan Jimmy ke dalam fitur-fitur AAVE tertentu, (2) menentukan faktor-faktor dari penggunaan fitur-fitur AAVE Jimmy yang berbeda dengan teori social variation, dan (3) mengklasifikasikan fitur-fitur AAVE ke dalam faktor-faktor yang telah ditentukan dalam perbedaan penggunaan fitur AAVE yang diucapkan oleh Jimmy pada karakter-karakter tertentu dalam film 8 Mile. Hasil yang didapatkan dalam penelitian ini menunjukkan bahwa meskipun Jimmy menggunakan berbagai fitur fonologi dan grammar dalam AAVE, ia hanya mengidentifikasikan penggunaan kosakatanya dengan kata-kata yang bergaya Hip hop (Hip hop slangs). Jimmy juga mengklasifikasikan partner bicaranya kedalam berbagai macam kelompok sosial pada social variation, seperti kelompok usia, kelas sosial, etnis, dan gender. Jimmy tidak menggunakan fitur-fitur AAVE yang sama seperti halnya yang ditunjukkan oleh kulit hitam lainnya meski ia tumbuh dalam lingkungan mereka dan menggemari musik Hip hop. Jimmy masih menganggap AAVE sebagai bahasa yang lebih pantas digunakan untuk kelas sosial bawah dan etnis kulit hitam meski ia juga menggunakan beberap fitur dalam komunikasinya dengan etnis kulit putih.


Kata kunci: AAVE, White Americans, Hip hop culture, Social Variation, 8 Mile


 


ABSTRACT


Although AAVE is an African American Vernacular English, it has been known to have speakers among White Americans, especially those who come from low economical background and favor Black American culture. The subject of study focuses on Jimmy, a White American boy in a movie called 8 Mile. The movie is about Jimmy’s struggling to gain recognition as a White rapper among other Black Americans as well as to sort out his private life with his family and girlfriends. Since he is a White American who live in Detroit and is surrounded by Black Americans, Jimmy is expected to have AAVE features in his speech. The purpose of this study is to analyze Jimmy’s AAVE features in 8 Mile movie. the description includes (1) what are AAVE features uttered by Jimmy in the movie, and (2) why does Jimmy use different AAVE features to different characters in 8 Mile movie. The writer applies descriptive qualitative method, Green (2002) and Rickford and Rickford’s (2000) theory of AAVE, and Holmes (2001) theory of social variation. The data analysis involve the processes of (1) classifying Jimmy’s utterances into certain AAVE features, (2) determining the factors of Jimmy’s AAVE different use by social variation theory, and (3) determining the different AAVE features spoken by Jimmy according to each social group of his addressees. The result shows that although Jimmy speaks with various kinds of pronunciation and grammatical features, but he only identifies his AAVE vocabulary features mainly to Hip hop slangs. Jimmy classifies his addressees based on their social variations. Jimmy’s addressees are divided into four social groups which are age, social class, ethnicity, and gender. Despite living in a Black environment and favors Hip hop style as one of Black American culture, Jimmy’s AAVE features do not show the same use of other Black Americans as he does not speak with all of AAVE features mentioned in Green’s (2002). He still associates AAVE with low social class and more to Black Americans despite his proximity to Black Americans and Hip hop culture.


Key words: AAVE, White Americans, Hip hop culture, Social Variation, 8 Mile



 



 


 



 


INTRODUCTION


 


African American Vernacular English (AAVE) is a form of English dialect in America. refers to Northern Black Americans who speak non-standard English and live in urban ghettos with lower income (Salzmann, 2004, pp. 182-183). Certain features that is popular as AAVE are ing/in alternation  (singing becomes singin’), multiple negation (I didn’t see anything becomes I didn’t see nothin’), copula deletion (Are you comin? becomes You coming?), and many others.


The use of AAVE is now getting popular because of civil rights equality in America that gives the opportunity for Black Americans to be involved in every life aspects equally in America. The emergence of Black popular icons like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and 50 Cents have contributed to popular use of AAVE in America. The use of AAVE is one of the results of the working class mixed society in Northern America. In this particular area, the living conditions contribute to the reason why AAVE is still perceived as an inferior language to the Standard English of America. AAVE is obviously used by the White Americans living in this area since most of  Black Americans had settled in this part of the city. Living in the same low areas with the Black Americans makes the Whites could care less about their language use. In fact, they are too busy to make money for their struggling life and speak with common language used by the majority of people in the area.


It will be interesting to analyze AAVE use by White American in 8 Mile movie since The main character portrayed by Eminem is a struggling White American rapper named Jimmy. It is a rap movie whose story takes place in the city of Detroit where Black rapper gangs rule the youth lifestyle in 1990s. Raised in this particular environment, Jimmy “The Bunny Rabbit” who is best friend with other black people is more Black cultured than having his original culture as a White American. It mostly reflected in his use of language when interracting with his Black friends. However, he does not use as much features of AAVE as he uses them when speaking with his White American family.


The analysis of White American AAVE has been done previously by Cutler (1999) and Magnusson (2008). Cutler (1999) observed AAVE development by a White American teenager influenced by Hip Hop culture. However, the said boy was not necessarily influenced by African American environment. In fact, he was raised in a rich European American family at Upper side of Yorkville in New York. There is also a features-based comparison study by Magnusson (2008) that presents the different features of AAVE use by Black and White American rappers in rap lyrics.


This study will try to analyze AAVE features spoken by Jimmy in 8 Mile movie by Applying theory of AAVE features in phonological, lexical, and grammatical features. Social variation that determines Jimmy’s AAVE use to different addressees in the movie will also be used to answer the research questions.


The research questions of this study are: (1) What are the features of AAVE that is applied by Jimmy in 8 Mile movie?, and (2) Why does Jimmy use different features of AAVE to different people in the movie?. This study is conducted to find the features of AAVE by Jimmy in 8 Mile movie and to figure out the factors of Jimmy’s different use of AAVE in 8 Mile movie.


The significance of the study is to give a good understanding to  the readers of the use of supposedly inferior language of one ethnic group by a member of more respected group in a society. Although White Americans view Black Americans as a lesser community, their lower-class community still mingles with the Black Americans. This assimilation triggers the inferior’s language use by White Americans since they communicate daily with other Black Americans. Therefore, this study opens the opinion that it is possible for other community to have this situation where a minor community with better reputation communicate with the language of lesser community which has major people in a certain area.


There are several theories applied to answer the research questions in this study. The first one is the theory of AAVE features by Green (2002) and Rickford and Rickford (2000) that determine AAVE phonological, lexical, and grammatical features. Another theory used in this study is from Holmes (2001) that explains about social variation that classifies language use in social groups. It has been stated that people use more vernacular forms in the same-age group, lower social class, and the same ethnicity. Trudgill (1972) also mentions that women speak with more standard forms than men in gender social group.


RESEARCH METHOD


This study uses descriptive qualitative method which means that the data analysis is in form of description, not numeral or deficient of cause and effect relationship and is presented in the form of words and phrases. The subject of this study is the character of Jimmy itself. Other subjects’ role relating to the character of the movie, such as Jimmy’s mother, his black friends, and White American girlfriend will be applied to show their influence in Jimmy’s use of language. The source of data of this study is taken from 8 Mile movie, while the data of this study is Jimmy’s speech that features AAVE to identify AAVE influence on White American. This study applies observation where the writer herself is used as the tool in seeking the answer for the research questions. The writer herself is the main instrument of the study as the writer has a large part of the process in this qualitative research.  8 Mile movie, internet, books, digital files, and other printed media are made as tools in this study using the instruments above to solve the research problem and find out the answers of the research questions.


In conducting data analysis in this study, the writer used some methods of data collection that include recording, transcribing, and giving notes to the data. Meanwhile, the data analysis was performed in three steps of analyzing data, which were data reduction, data display, conclusion, and verification (Miles and Huberman, 1992, p. 20).


In order to answer the research questions, determining the suitable AAVE features to Jimmy’s utterances was done in the next step. The writer then classified the utterances according to the addressees of the conversations and their AAVE features by displaying tables that divided Jimmy’s utterances to Black and White Americans.


 


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


 


Results


The results of the answer for the first research question show that Jimmy does not perform all of AAVE features explained in Green (2002). His phonological  features only consist of (1) ing/in alternation (Wink has been talkin’ /tɔː.kɪn/ to that promo guy?), (2) /r/ and /l/ deletion (A'ight /ɒ’aɪt/. I'll talk to you later), (3) single final consonant absence (Sort of /ə/ the same), and (4) initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/ (Thinks /tɪŋks/ sometimes you talk some bullshit).


Meanwhile, his lexical features do not show any general words or phrases that are described by Green (2002) as having close relations to African American in general. In fact, Jimmy only uses (1) verbal marker be (Don't be sayin' shit about my mom or my fuckin' car, man. I hear everythin') to show his annoyance and (2) current slangs of Hip hop (Yo, I got to work in the morning, so) to mark his identity as a rapper in Hip hop culture.


Jimmy’s grammatical features show the most number of AAVE features used by him in the movie. They are (1) multiple negation (Yo, don't tell nobody I'm livin' back here, man), (2) ain’t use as an auxilliary verb or copula (The settlement check ain't comin'?), (3) subject-verb unagreement (You was in the parkin' lot the other night?), (4) copula deletion (Hey, [are you] lookin' for your brother?), (5) invariant BE ([I’ll] Be late for work), (6) existensial dem (I'm not afraid of them guys), (7) unmarked third person singular verb (he's actin' like he don't know me), and (8) unobligatory inversion of subject and auxilliary (You're gonna let me borrow your car?).


For the second research question, it is found that Jimmy has indeed uttered different AAVE features according to his addressees’ social groups. Table 1-4 shows the results of Jimmy’s different features of AAVE in each social group of age, social class, ethnicity, and gender.


 


Table 1: Jimmy’s AAVE features based on age levels






Age level




AAVE features






Phonology




Lexicon




Grammar






Older





  • Ing/in alternation

  • Single final consonant absence




Hip hop slangs


 





  • Ain’t use as an auxilliary or verb

  • Invariant BE

  • Unobligatory inversion of Subject and Auxilliary






Same age





  • Ing/in alternation

  • Single final consonant absence

  • Initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/




Hip hop slangs


 





  • Ain’t use as an auxilliary or verb

  • Subject-verb unagreement

  • Copula deletion

  • Existensial dem






Younger




Ing/in alternation




-




-






 


Table 1 shows that Jimmy speaks with more AAVE features to the same age group. He does not use phonological feature of initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/ and grammatical feature of copula deletion to his mother who is older than him. Furthermore, he only uses ing/in alternation to his younger sister that represents the younger age group in the movie.


 


Table 2: Jimmy’s AAVE features based on social class difference






Social Class




AAVE Features






Phonology




Lexicon




Grammar






Upper




-




-




Copula deletion






Lower





  • Ing/in alternation

  • /r/ and /l/ deletion

  • Single final consonant absence

  • Initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/

  • Verbal marker be

  • Hip hop slangs

  • Multiple negation

  • Ain’t use as an Auxilliary or copula

  • Subject-verb unagreement

  • Copuladeletion

  • Invariant BE

  • Existensial dem

  • Unmarked third person singular verb

  • Unobligatory inversion of Subject and Auxilliary



 
 



 


Table 2 indicates that Jimmy uses  all of his AAVE features to people in lower social class, while copula deletion is the only feature used to communicate with an upper class person.


 


Table 3: Jimmy’s AAVE features based on ethnicity






Ethnicity




AAVE Features






Phonology




Lexicon




Grammar






White Americans





  • Ing/in alternation

  • Single final consonant absence

  • Initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/




Hip hop slangs





  • Ain’t use as an Auxilliary verb or copula

  • Subject-verb unagreement

  • Copula deletion

  • Invariant BE

  • Existensial dem

  • Unobligatory inversion of Subject and Auxilliary






Black Americans





  • Ing/in alternation

  • Single final consonant absence

  • /r/ and /l/ deletion

  • Initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/

  • Verbal marker be

  • Hip hop slangs

    • Multiple negation

    • Ain’t use as an Auxilliary verb or copula

    • Copula deletion

    • Unmarked third person singular verb





 
 



 


In Table 3, Jimmy shows more grammatical features to White Americans. However, most of them are only uttered to one particular character in the movie. Thus, they cannot be the general AAVE features spoken to White Americans. On the other hand, features of /r/ and /l/ deletion, verbal marker be, and multiple negation are the only general features that are not uttered to White Americans, since Jimmy only speaks with thos features to his Black American friends.


 


 


 


 


 


Table 4: Jimmy’s AAVE features based on gender difference






Gender




AAVE Features






Phonology




Lexicon




Grammar






Male





  • Ing/in alternation

  • Initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/




Hip hop slangs




Copula deletion






Female





  • Ing/in alternation

  • Single final consonant absence




Hip hop slangs





  • Ain’t use as an Auxilliary or copula

  • Copula deletion

  • Subject-verb unagreement

  • Existensial dem






 


Table 4 explains that AAVE phonological feature of initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/ is not uttered to female, while single final consonant absence is not performed to male. Nevertheless, it is clear that Jimmy uses more AAVE features to female as his grammatical features are more various than the only copula deletion that he utters to male.


 


Discussion


In AAVE phonological features, Jimmy commonly uses ing/in alternation and initial /th/ changing to all of the characters except for his employer who is in higher social class than him. While /r/ and /l/  deletion is only uttered to Black Americans,  single final consonant absence are not uttered to male White American characters. Initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/ is also an exemption from White American female. The use of phonological features here help to distinguish AAVE from SAE in Jimmy’s utterances. In society, White English speakers use some of AAVE phonological features widely as some of them are similar to other Vernacular language. For example, ing/in alternation that is also found in Norwich vernacular language (Trudgill, 1983) and pin-pen merger in vowel variation that is also spoken by White southeners (Rickford and Rickford, 2000). However, since Jimmy comes from Black neighbourhood, his AAVE phonological features originates from the Black American vernacular English. Thus, only using phonological features is not enough to identify a White American AAVE use, since its phonological features are also present in other vernacular languages.              


Jimmy’s lexical features indicate more limited variations as Jimmy only speaks with verbal marker be and current slangs of Hip hop. In this case, Jimmy only uses AAVE lexicons as verbal marker be and current slangs of Hip hop and exclude general words and AAVE phrases that are specifically used in secular environments. He uses verbal marker be with different goal from Green (2002) that has the purpose of indicating the recurrence of eventuality. In fact, Jimmy’s only utterance with verbal marker be happens when he expresses his annoyance to his Black friend, Sol George. Meanwhile, he identifies himself more with Hip hop culture through his use of Hip hop slangs even to his White American mother. Although he does not utter the slangs to his employer, it shows that Jimmy’s use of AAVE lexicons does not represent the relationship with Black American ethnicity, but his way of using words to show his relation to Hip hop culture which is closely associated with young Black Americans in his neighborhood. This reflects the white teenager’s situation in New York described in Cutler’s (1999) study which followed a White American teenager who identified  himself to AAVE because of Hip hop existence. According to Rose (1994, p. 5), this is as the result of White’s fascination to Black American’s culture that indicates social constructions and is a symbol of rebellion. Although Jimmy grows up in a Black Neighbourhood, but his Hip hop slangs are obtained in the same way from Hip hop as one of  Black American popular cultures.


Jimmy indeed has the most grammatical variations of AAVE in his utterances. It turns out that only multiple negation, ain’t use as an auxilliary verb or copula and copula deletion are uttered generally to some characters in the movie. Multiple negation is uttered to only Black Americans, ain’t use as an auxilliary verb or copula is performed to all of the other characters except for male White Americans and Jimmy’s employer, while copula deletion is uttered to all characters but Jimmy’s mother. The copula deletion here is a special case in this study since it is the only AAVE feature that he uses when speaking with Manny, his employer. Meanwhile, other grammatical features are used only once and to one particular character throughout the movie. Those features are subject-verb unagreement, existensial dem, unmarked third person singular verb, invariant BE and unobligatory inversion of subject and auxilliary. Jimmy’s utterances with multiple negation shows the same result from White Americans who live in Detroit. White Americans from lower social class speak with more multiple negation, but there are more multiple negation use by Black Americans who also have their place in Detroit. In the movie, Jimmy only uses multiple negation to Black Americans in only two situations, indicating that he does not use it as commonly as other Black Americans do. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s utterance of copula deletion do not show comformity with Holmes’ (2001, p. 178) statement that in recordings of Detroit speech, White Americans never omitted the copula verb be.


There are no exact prescriptions of AAVE features’ regulation in grammar books. AAVE features grow among its users by exposure and experimentation. Every member in certain communities learn the conventional and systematic ways of pronouncing, modifying, and combining words that are characteristic of their community’s language (Rickford and Rickford, 2000). In Jimmy’s case, the AAVE features in his utterance are obtained from his contact with his Black American friends and Hip hop culture. Jimmy’s use of AAVE features gives evidence that although Jimmy speaks with many AAVE features that distinguish them from SAE, he does not speak with major use of AAVE as other Black Americans do. He still diferentiates certain AAVE features according to his addressees’ ethnicity, age levels, and social class.


Jimmy differentiates his use of AAVE features are in accordance with social variations’ theory in Holmes’ (2001) which consists of social groups such as age, ethnicity, and social class. Addressees who come from different social variations receive different AAVE features by Jimmy. Hence, the description on Jimmy’s reasons is phased into different categories of social variation.


Jimmy performs most AAVE features with his same age friends. He excludes copula deletion to his mother and only utters ing/in alternation to his younger sister. It is suitable with Holmes’ (2001) age and social dialect situation in which adolescents own the most vernacular forms compared with younger and older people. Alrhough Jimmy performs some AAVE features to his mother, but he does not use copula deletion when he performs it to Alex and Cheddar Bob who are in the same age with him. Aside from being a White American, Jimmy’s mother is also older and comes from different generation. Although Jimmy utters some of phonological features and even speaks with Hip hop slangs, but he only speaks with two out of eight grammatical features spoken by Jimmy. In addition, He limits his feature of AAVE to his sister to only AAVE phonological feature of ing/in alternation since she is still very young compared to him. As AAVE features have vernacular forms, it is concluded that his same age friends who are in the same adolescent era as him speaks with the most AAVE features compared with Jimmy’s utterances to his mouther and younger sister. Romaine (1984,  p. 104) concludes that children perform more vernacular form than the teenagers and adults in Detroit Black neighborhood. Jimmy utters more AAVE features to his same age friends than to his mother, but the least AAVE feature is shown to his younger sister. However, since Jimmy’s sister is a White American, it is usual that Jimmy speaks with more standard forms to her as Holmes (2001, p. 169) suggests that children gradually acquire standard forms in the same way as they gradually acquire new vocabulary and control of grammatical constructions.


Jimmy differentiates his use of AAVE in social class when he interracts with Manny, his employer. There is no AAVE feature found in his utterances to Manny except for copula deletion when he greets Manny to make himself seen friendly. This goes with Holmes’ (2001) theory that lower social class has more vernacular forms in their language features than people from higher social class. Jimmy only uses copula deletion while other characters receive more variant AAVE features ranging from phonology to grammar features of AAVE from Jimmy. Analysis of Detroit Black Society in multiple negation use as shown in the previous discussion also shows social class differences (Shuy et al., 1967). White Americans in higher social class do not utter this feature at all. Meanwhile, those in lower social class perform this feature the most. As Jimmy is included as a working-class male in low social class of Detroit society, it shows the same situation that Jimmy performs AAVE feature mostly to other characters from lower social class, while he only utters one single AAVE feature to his employer who has higher social class than him.


Ethnicity is one of Jimmy’s reasons to differentiate his AAVE features. He does not give exception when speaking with AAVE feature to any Black American characters except for his employer. In fact, there are some AAVE features that are only uttered to Black American characters. Those features include /r/ and /l/ deletion from phonological variation and multiple negation of grammatical feature. It indicates that although Jimmy speaks with AAVE features commonly to his friends and family, but his use of AAVE features to Black Americans is still more common as AAVE is the language of Black Americans that needs to be used when one wants to identifies himself as a part of the group, it is in accordance with Holmes’ (2001, p. 175) theory that African Americans have developed a distinct variety to distinguish their language from the general Americans. Jimmy follows this distinction to show his solidarity to Black American ethnicity. In every social group interviewed in Detroit, Black Americans use more multiple negation than White Americans did (Holmes, 2001, p. 178). This is as reflected in the movie, as Jimmy performs more features to Black Americans than to other White American characters.


Furthermore, Jimmy does not utter initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/ to female and does not perform single final consonant absence to male. Alex as the representative character of White American female does not receive any single initial /th/ changing as /d/ or /t/ when Jimmy utters it to the other males. On the other hand, the two White American males do not receive single final consonant absence, a phonological feature that he can perform to Alex. Another difference that can be found based on gender difference is taken from grammatical feature of ain’t use as an auxilliary verb or copula. He does not  performs this to White American males when he utters it to Alex as the representative of the female side in this social group. This does not indicate conformity with Trudgill’s (1972, p. 182) theory concerning with gender variation in language use. He suggests that male favored vernacular forms much more than females. The data in this study show the opposite thing since Jimmy includes grammatical feature to Alex that he does not utter to other male characters. The reflection of this situation to society can be seen from Trudgill’s (1983) research on gender-based vernacular use in Norwich. It shows that men have more vernacular forms than women in ing/in alternation. Although it is not investigated as one of AAVE features, the phonological feature is also recognized as one of AAVE consonantal variations. Holmes (2001, p. 157) mentions that women tend to have more standard forms since they are more status-conscious than men and that the way they speak can determine their social status in society. However, this does not happen in the movie since Alex also speaks with AAVE features that results in Jimmy’s use of more AAVE forms to her than to other male White American


 


CONCLUSION 


 


As a member of minor White Americans living in a Black community in Detroit, a city with biggest Black population in the United States of America, Jimmy is expected to have certain AAVE features in his utterances. This is added with his close association to Hip hop music as one of Black-related culture in American society. However, living among Black Americans does not automatically make a White American “Black” through his way of speaking. Even with the preference of Black culture as a lifestyle, Jimmy only performs some of AAVE features and even limits the lexicons to only those related to Hip hop. The two answers from the research questions in this study have given the evidence of Jimmy’s situation.


                The first topic from the research question number 1 discusses about Jimmy’s features of AAVE. Athough there are many consonant and vowel variations, Jimmy only performs four consonant variations from the phonological features of AAVE. Meanwhile, from the three categories of AAVE lexicons described by Green (2002), Jimmy only uses Hip hop slangs as his AAVE feature of lexical feature. His grammatical feature shows more variation with the total of eight variations with only three of them being spoken generally while the other five are uttered by Jimmy to one particular character in the movie. All of the features are not uttered equally to all of Jimmy’s addressees in his conversations. In fact, that limited use of AAVE is also performed differently to other characters in the movie. Therefore, there are reasons that explain his different use of AAVE that is explained as the answer of the second research question.


                Social variation appears to be Jimmy’s reasons to distinguish his use of AAVE in 8 Mile movie. Different variations such as age, social class, ethnicity, and gender have influenced the differences found in Jimmy’s utterances in the movie. Jimmy performs most AAVE features to his same age friends while using limited features to older and younger people. Meanwhile, it is clear that social class is the main reason of Jimmy’s different use of AAVE when speaking with his employer. The only feature that he uses is copula deletion that is uttered to show his friendliness toward his Black employer. There also AAVE features that are reserved for only Black Americans are caused by their ethnicity. On the other hand, Jimmy turns out to show more vernacular forms to White American female than White American males.


All of Jimmy’s reasons to differentiate his AAVE use indicates his attitude toward AAVE. As someone who grows up in Black neighborhood, socializes with other Black Americans, and identifies himself with Hip hop culture, there should be no different treatment performed by Jimmy when it comes to AAVE and SAE. But the evidences given from the two answers show the opposite thing. Even Jimmy’s rare use of certain features like verbal be, invariant BE, existensial dem, and unmarked thind person singular absence is motivated by negative thoughts and actions when he is annoyed and distressed of something. In addition, Jimmy obviously considers SAE as having higher position in society and associates AAVE with lower social class and economical background society as he does not use AAVE features to someone who is in the higher social position than him. He also prefers to identify himself with Hip hop culture than to Black American ethnicity from his choice of lexicons. It indicates that Jimmy relates himself closely with AAVE, but not as close as other Black Americans do as he only performs a number of AAVE features that he distinguishes based on social variation in his society.


 


SUGGESTION


 


It is suggested that it can be a relevant study concerning with language and society. The writer holds a very high expectation that it can inspire other writers to find other Vernacular languages that has the same position of AAVE, since its struggle to become a recognized English has shown great results. the AAVE features shown in this study helps to describe AAVE’s distinction from other froms of Standard English, while the different use according to the characters’ social background explains AAVE use of an American who is closely associated with Black culture and society represented by Jimmy in this study.


Hopefully, this study can be helpful to the readers in the matter of language and society. Enriching the readers’ knowledge about AAVE and its use by White Americans is also one of the concerns in this study. Concerning with AAVE issue, the writer hopes that the following studies concerning with AAVE will indicate the change of its perception as a low social class and ungrammatical language.


 


REFERENCES


 


Cutler, C. A. (1999). Yorkville Crossing: White teens, hip hop and African American English. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 3(4), 428-442.


Green, L. J. (2002). African American English: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Holmes, J. (2001). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Second ed.). Edinburgh: Pearson Education Ltd.


Magnusson, M. (2008). Not Perfect Grammar, Always Perfect Timing: African American Vernacular English in Black and White Lyrics. Karlstads Universitet, Karlstad.  


Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1992). Approaches to Discourse (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Rickford, J. R., & Rickford, R. J. (2000). Spoken Soul. Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Romaine, S. (1984). The Language of Children and Adolescents. Oxford: Blackwell.


Salzmann, Z. (2004). Language, Culture, and Society (An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology) (Third ed.). Colorado: Westview Press.


Shuy, R. W., Wolfram, W. A., & Riley, W. K. (1967). Linguistic Correlates of Social Stratification in Detroit Speech. Cooperative Research Project, 6(1347).


Trudgill, P. (1972). Sex, Covert Prestige and Linguistic Change in the Urban British English of Norwich. Language in Society, 1.


Trudgill, P. (1983). Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society (Second ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin.


 


 


 


Full Text: PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.