Definition of Ebonics in English:


plural noun

  • [treated as singular] American black English regarded as a language in its own right rather than as a dialect of standard English.

    • ‘If the people speaking Ebonics were all multimillionaires, then it'd be the thing to do to learn it.’
    • ‘I was expecting a trite plot and dialogue that would mimic Ebonics, not Southern dialect.’
    • ‘Obviously, he's no big fan of Ebonics and that whole idea of African language patterns.’
    • ‘While educators seek to teach Black children to learn and to speak mainstream English, do you believe Black English, or Ebonics, is unfairly stigmatized by American society at large?’
    • ‘We have all noted the Ebonics spoken by some of the young black clerks.’
    • ‘Whether one is speaking Ebonics or Appalachian English, sociolinguists say all dialects are created equal.’
    • ‘Consider the attempt to encourage speaking Ebonics in schools in Oakland, California.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, the student displayed a common, middle-class African American belief about Ebonics that implies fear, shame, and distrust of an important component of their linguistic heritage.’
    • ‘Yet, the attempt by many African Americans to get Ebonics, a dialect of English, recognized as a valid language failed because Ebonics is a private, not a public, language.’
    • ‘First, a caveat - Ebonics, or ‘Black English’ is not the same thing as Hip Hop Slang.’
    • ‘I have also shown here how languages such as Ebonics are brought into being by acts of political and social power on the part of their speakers and how linguistic differences enact and transmit inequalities in power and status.’
    • ‘Her poetic styles vary from haiku to streetwise dramatic monologue, using the conventions of ‘standard’ English, as well as the defiance of Ebonics.’
    • ‘As witnessed in the controversy over Ebonics, the mainstream discourse has focused on images of African Americans rather than the historical, cultural, and linguistic developments of Black English.’
    • ‘A few years ago, for instance, Cornell's dean of students stood side by side with leftist students as they torched copies of the Cornell Review, which had run an article mocking Ebonics.’
    • ‘One teacher stated she even allows students to speak Ebonics at certain limited times during class.’
    • ‘They speak Ebonics, which to me, is very reasonable.’
    • ‘During one discussion, an African American woman, the only one in a classroom with mostly Caucasians, talked proudly about how she doesn't allow her children to speak Ebonics because they will only become confused.’


1970s: blend of ebony and phonics.