New Documentary “Talking Black in America” Examines History and Cultural Importance of African American Speech (VIDEO)

(photo via languageandlife.org)

article via jbhe.com

North Carolina State University recently premiered a new documentary film that examines the history of African American speech, its cultural importance, and how African American speech has shaped modern American English. Walt Wolfram, the William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor is the executive producer of the film and the director of the Language and Life Project at the university.

The film – Talking Black in America – is the culmination of five decades of research by Dr. Wolfram. Professor Wolfram stated that “there has never been a documentary devoted exclusively to African American speech, even though it’s the most researched – and controversial – collection of dialects in the United States and has contributed more than any other variety to American English. The status of African American speech has been controversial for more than a half-century now, suffering from persistent public misunderstanding, linguistic profiling, and language-based discrimination. We wanted to address that and, on a fundamental level, make clear that understanding African American speech is absolutely critical to understanding the way we talk today.”

A trailer for the film can be viewed below:

Upcoming screenings:

Tuesday, April 4th at 7pm in Witherspoon 126 (Washington Sankofa Room) on NC State Campus. Screening and panel discussion about the ways language discrimination interacts with other forms of discrimination in the American justice system (NC State’s final Common Reading event of the year). Panelists: Vernetta Alston, Attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, Jim Coleman, Professor of the Practice of Law at Duke University, and Walt Wolfram, Professor of English Linguistics at NC State University.

Thursday, April 6th at 2pm at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Presentation by Executive Producer Walt Wolfram.

Monday, April 10th at 7pm at the UC Theater at Western Carolina University. Screening followed by Q+A with film producers Walt Wolfram and Danica Cullinan.

To find out more information, go tohttps://languageandlife.org/talking-black-in-america/

Source: New Documentary Film on the Importance of African American Speech : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

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