September 20, 2016, - 3:58 pm

Your Day in Ebonics: Spelling & Pronunciation – Dey Ain’t Da Same

By Debbie Schlussel


So my Black client said this about Ebonics, NOT me. But I don’t disagree. Check out this lesson in “spelling” and “pronunciation” we both got. Say what?

Last night, a client of mine asked for my help regarding something. In connection with that, she asked me to contact a government employee. She told me the employee’s name and then spelled it, S-A-M-A-K-I-A. To a regular American who can read, spell, and speak decent English, that looks like it’s pronounced, “Suh-mah-kee-uh,” right?

Nope. That would be too easy. Too logical. Too correct. Too plain. Too basic. And everybody’s gotta be “different” today (even though their self-imposed, idiotic “differences” are actual conforming to the vast idiot culture across America).

My client insisted to me that the pronunciation is “Sah-mee-kuh.”

Me: “Are you sure? It’s spelled like it should be pronounced “Suh-mah-kee-uh.”

My Black client: “What can I tell you? Welcome to Ebonics.”

And then she laughed.

Me: “Remember, you said that. I didn’t.”

But I was definitely thinking it.

By the way, I googled the chick, and sure enough, she spells her name, S-A-M-A-K-I-A. And I checked. She does, indeed, pronounce it “Samekah.”

Who needs those home-schooled Indian immigrant kids winning spelling bees, when we got dat brainiac speller Samakia (or her mom who gave her the name and presumably the, um, spelling)?

Forget Black Lives Matter. In this case, Black Names’ Spelling Matters.

If you think it’s RAAAAAAYYYYCIST! to point that out, you’re an intellectually dishonest moron. (And by the way, when Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall pledge to never do a Yiddish accent again and Caryn Elaine Johnson drops “Goldberg” from her dumb Whoopi stage name, let me know.)

Also, go by the bakery in celebration and pick yourself up one of those delightful Ebonics cakes.

If only Barbara Billingsley were still here to translate for us (they would never get away with doing a scene like this in Hollywood, today) . . .

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25 Responses

Almost like the way “poinsettia” is pronounced, either with an “-uh” or “-ee-uh” in the end, as enumerated in many a routine on “The Tonight Show” in the Johnny Carson years every Christmas time between Carson and bandleader Doc Severinsen.

But there was once a co-worker in where I’d worked, named “Schmel,” a name which reminded me of “Schmuel,” but she’d insisted it be pronounced “Sha-mell.” That sounds like the crux of what was in this article, and that’s what this instance reminds me of.

ConcernedPatriot on September 20, 2016 at 5:11 pm

The (dot) Indian immigrant kids winning spelling bees are home schooled? They are usually very particular about either picking good school districts, or very elite private schools. I’ve rarely seen any home-school.

Not counting those who help their kids w/ the homework (where it still exists) and ensuring that they actually do it!

But to the topic of Ebonics – it’s now the standard language in a lot of public schools. I’ve seen non Black kids use Ebonics grammer, since that’s now what’s taught by default

Infidel on September 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Political correctness is at its core, institutionalized insanity. But it’s also a tool of fascism.

And for the politically incorrect crowd, I refer to myself as “a person of all colors” rather than “White” or “Caucasian.” And I insist that if they refer to or identify my “race” that they use “a person of all colors” (since the “color” “white” is really all colors combined as one).

George Carlin has written some fine analysis of the politically correct cretinocity. Here’s his summary of it:

Ralph Adamo on September 20, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    It’s too bad that in his late years Carlin lost his wit, wisdom, and wiles and could talk only about how America bombed only brown people. He became what he preached against in this video. Maybe the alcohol and drugs that early on expanded his psyche finally caught up with him; or he just started taking himself too seriously–who knows?!?

    YCHtT on September 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Steve Harvey constantly makes fun of Black people on Family Feud who have such idiotic names. It’s fun to watch as he butchers their names throughout the program.

JeffT on September 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm

We are reaching a point where noting someone’s ignorance is a potential offense. When the truth is spoken, it is often branded as being either offense or malicious. Debbie has just pointed out a good example of the absurdity of such strictures.

Worry on September 20, 2016 at 8:50 pm

This is one of my pet peeves. For example, I was once roundly attacked on Cigar Aficionado’s web site, where I posted for 3 1/2 years, for pointing out that Isiah Thomas’ spells his first name incorrectly. If you spell it his way, it’s pronounced Eye-zigh-uh, not Eye-zay-uh like the prophet in the Bible.

It’s obvious that someone wasn’t sure of the correct spelling of Isaiah when Mr. Thomas was born. And that’s OKAY, there’s nothing WRONG or SINFUL about being ignorant of something. But you just can’t point out when something is wrong anymore.

So, my way of fighting back is to point out when all this leads to another Tower of Babel situation, I can write “Gertrude” on a piece of paper, show it to someone and claim it spells “Shell Oil.” And according to the way of thinking expounded on in Debbie’s article, . . .

NO ONE, should dare to tell me I’m “wrong.”

After all, 2+2 = 5.9. EVERYBODY knows THA-AAAAAT!!!

Oh, one more thing. Abbott and Costello showed many years ago that 7 x 13 = 28. Anyone who doesn’t believe it needs to watch the video. They proved it THREE ways. Einstein had NOTHING on them.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    For those who don’t know what Alfredo is talking about regarding Abbott and Costello, here’s a clip of the routine. This version is performed by Lou Costello, but with another “straight man,” instead of his regular partner Bud Abbott.

    I’m convinced. 7 x 13 does indeed equal 28.

    Ralph Adamo on September 21, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Uhhhh, actually, one CAN sin ignorantly. I stand corrected.

But I have to be in bed soon, up at 6 a.m. or thereabouts. Therefore, I won’t be standing, . . .

but I’ll still be corrected.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 20, 2016 at 11:50 pm

The New York Times used to have a weekly column on grammar, correcting grammatical mistakes by its writers during the previous week. However, this column was discontinued last March.

Too many errors? Perhaps the column was racist, and did not recognize discordant narratives.

Little Al on September 21, 2016 at 7:22 am

    My company’s news circular had a similar department. It was called The Fogcutter’s Corner.

    Among other things they pointed out that enormity describes an awful situation, not a large one.

    Irregardless is not a legitimate word. Regardless may stand alone or the proper word Irrespective may be used.

    Moot is not pronounced “Mute”, nor does it mean the same thing.

    I have listened to people who argue that language is always changing to conform to modern usage and that words don’t have rigid definitions. Umm, yes they do. That’s why they’re called definitions. It’s usually a liberal making these arguments and clearly, what they wish for is the privilege of saying whatever comes to mind in the moment and then, when quoted, deciding what it means later. I call BS.

    Richard on September 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Mane, dis pos be so racis! It so racist ta point out dat black folk be tryin to exscape da oppression of da white mane, even when it come to namez!

Growing up & going to school in Memphis, ebonics was an unofficial 2nd language taught in EVERY school.

Cicero's Ghost (NB) on September 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

Debbie thanks for that clip from on of the funniest movies ever made. It made an otherwise very rainy East Coast work day pretty good so far. You’re right Hollyweird would never ever make a movie like that today. With BLM and politicians like Obola stinking up the country that project would get shot down quicker that a deer during NC hunting season. Speaking of ebonics a little piece of Ken B history. I was teased mercilessly by other Black kids in grade and middle school. All because I according to them “talked like a White boy”. You see my parents taught me and my siblings that you won’t get anywhere in life if you dress, act, think, and talk like an idiot. When evah da teachah axe ya how ta solve dat maf problem on da black(racist)board ya need ta know dat 2+2=foh shizzle. Ya feel me home slice. Other wise you will suck at math and continue to be a barely passing failure in school. You will wind up dropping out and if you’re a girl you’ll be pregnant at 16. If you’re a guy you’ll be slinging dope (because you are one)at 19.You’ll be arrested by (da man) and put in jail with a Black Muslim named Yousef Mohammad. All because you thought that it was cool to talk and act like an Ebonics styled moron. Point this out nowadays to Shamesha or D’ Andre’s parents and you will called a racist. You aren’t born a fool you learn to become one. No wonder the democrats feel entitled to the Black vote. Da peoples caint tink foh theyself so da White Cracka politician has ta do it foh dem. But hey Ebonics sure beats being 9 years old and getting teased now doesn’t it. Aint dat da truff.

Ken B on September 21, 2016 at 9:54 am

    You mean “troof,” Ken B, Ain’t dat da troof.


    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 25, 2016 at 10:35 pm

So I take it you have a post excoriating the 2 syllable pronunciation of Deborah and Barbara in the works?

Robert on September 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

And then I hear Charlize Theron say in a movie ad, “I’ve missed chew”. Ebonics is mainstream.
Can you imagine naming your child Detritus or Placenta?

lexi on September 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

Actually, I can remember a criminal case in the Washington, D.C. area several years ago involving a black female named “Placenta.” Can you believe that?

Primetime on September 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Now Debbie, especially being that you grew up in a black neighborhood and attended Black schools, you knew better than to think logically, when it comes to those types of names. When I first seen the name, I sounded it out, like you did, but thought about it and knew off the bat, it was pronounced UH.

Also Debbie, because of the aforementioned facts regarding your neighborhood and that any Black person can hand out an honorary
Blackness or hood pass who they think is worthy i.e Richie Icognito, the Rapper Game, gave Justin Bieber a hood pass, so, hey I grant you one, so next time, you don’t have to say “Hey you said it, I didn’t” You can just say it.

MrBigBrain on September 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm

So, I’m working at a certain Queens, NY based funeral home today, and there are two funerals in house at present. A flower delivery arrives with neither one of the names of the deceased, but a copy of the order slip gives a last name that MIGHT be similar to one of the names.

Most of the other language on the order slip is in Spanish which leads us to believe it MIGHT be for the other family, as they are Spanish speaking. The delivery guy speaks virtually no English and cannot understand much of the queries that the director and I are putting to him about which family is supposed to get the flowers. I didn’t feel like using my Spanish, because I could already see it wouldn’t be helpful.

I called the florist and got a nice lady who also spoke nearly no English, but it finally SOUNDS as though she understands what I’m asking, apologizes profusely, and says that she’ll get her brother, so very sorry, just a minute, she’ll get her brother. She proceeds to hang up on me.

Finally, the director asks the delivery guy again which one of the deceased on the name board in the waiting area the delivery is for. He points to one name and references the name on the slip which we thought was the name of the person ordering the delivery. He insists that it matches the name on the board, because the first name is the same, but the last name is quite different.

We had to agree, that in the absence of more specificity, the last name he was pointing to was the closest resemblance to one of the two names up on the funeral home’s board. And that’s the chapel the flower piece was placed in. Watch the other family be looking for a missing flower piece later, LOL!!!

YET ANOTHER GOOD REASON FOR IMMIGRATION CONTROL, AND ENGLISH FIRST (ACTUALLY ENGLISH ONLY) education in America. Further evidence of a collapsing civil society.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 21, 2016 at 6:45 pm

For those that may have thought I was talking out of the side of my neck about Middle Eastern homosexuality I just found this article. Muslim frauds, they are completely down with it.

MrBigBrain on September 21, 2016 at 7:32 pm

There’s no talking out of the side of your neck when it comes to homosexuality and Islam. The two go together like, . . .

well, . . .

like they’re having sex.

I know educated people on the left who can speak about this at length, intellectuals, scholars, etc. Except they still belong to Democrat good, Republican bad ideology. But the most honest of them admit they’re all terrible, that our system is broken, and voting alone can’t fix the disease we have.

Funny thing about lefties too, they love to read the men of The Enlightenment, and can expound on them at length. Those were many of the people who inspired our Founding Fathers, who gave us the system that is now being torn down by our leaders and the Islamic invasion and subversion of our culture.

Ahhhhhhh, Lefties and Islam, both inspired by Satan, to deliberately turn away from things that are as plain as the nose on their faces, and rush headlong toward their, and our destruction.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 21, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Famous basketball player (Anfernee Hardaway) was supposed to be named “Anthony”. That’s as close to it as the man’s mother could come to spelling it at the hospital.

Bill Craig on September 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Oh. That wasn’t the narrative about where the name came from. I even inquired of friends who were far more informed basketball fans than I. I was told this fancy story about this “no common names” decision on the part of his family with regard to the origin of the name. I also heard basketball announcers go with this narrative.

    I’ve known Southern blacks who actually DID have decisions made by certain grandparents or great grandparents about giving children “no common names,” but in those cases, they were all spelled correctly. It seemed to be a quirk among certain Southern blacks during the Baby Boomer generation.

    Those names were NOT however, of the “Shaniqua” and “R’aysha’won” variety, however. These were correctly spelled, obscure but known names from people who were quite well read, although not necessarily with large academic credentials in every case.

    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on September 25, 2016 at 10:34 pm

What I am wondering is where do all of these illiterate morns get a job? if they cannot read, write or speak the English language well who would ever hire them except for the most menial of jobs.

chuck on September 24, 2016 at 7:20 pm

I like pronouncing the name “La-sha” as “La-dash-a” because . . .

the dash be pronounced you see.

tomas pajaros on September 25, 2016 at 8:42 pm

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