It is well known that intelligibility is not enough to decide whether a variety is to be considered a language of its own or not. It leaves out of consideration linguistic attitudes, in particular the question of identity. Norway, Sweden and Denmark speak different languages, notwithstanding the considerable amount of intelligibility which exists between them. If the community wishes its way of speaking to be considered a language then it is one. Two criteria are required: to have a community with a single mind about the question and with enough power to make this decision respected by outsiders. Neither of these criteria was fulfilled in the case of Ebonics (a blend of Ebony and phonics), proposed for the variety of English formerly known as Black Vernacular English or African-American Vernacular English.  The intentions to give it language status were noble, but it was denounced by people from across the political spectrum, including individuals as the education secretary Richard W. Riley, the black civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and the writer Maya Angelou. Quite evidently, the two criteria above did not apply. (Crystal, David: “A global language”, in: Seargeant, Philip & Swann, Joan (ed.): English in the World. History, Diversity, Change. Abingdon: Routledge, 2012: 173)

This entry was posted in Sprache, Sprachvariation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.