James Baldwin “Language is a key political instrument”
Imagine this, you are from a small town in Alabama, but you have Just moved to New Jersey. You have a deep southern accent and you use words like “Yall. ” People are going to automatically think that you’re a redneck, which probably means that you live in a trailer, you hunt deer as a hobby, you live on a farm, and moonshine is your favorite drink. They will treat you according to the way that they think you are, only because they don’t understand the way you speak.
Because both of you are from a different part of the United States their way of speaking English is different from ours, which makes the way you speak unique to you and your identity. In Baldwin’s essay, he is saying that the manner in which you speak, will determine how people treat you. I agree, people will make assumptions about you based on your choice of words, accent, or vocabulary.
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In order to conform to this harsh reality people evolve a new language in order to control their circumstances and/or environment. Black English originated during slavery, when the slaves were brought to America they were all from different tribes; therefore they did not speak the same language. In order to survive and to understand each other, they evolved a language of their own.
In England people can tell what kind of person you are, where you’re from, and if you’re wealthy Just by listening to your diction. A person living in Paris cannot understand what a person from Quebec is saying even though they speak the same language (French. ) I do believe that language is the key to a person’s identity. Your grammar, language, etc. will determine how you are treated and if you will be accepted in the society that you are in.