Urban English

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Urban English (also referred to as Urban Vernacular English, or Jive) is a variant or dialect of English spoken by historically segregated minorities in urban communities (or cities) across the United States, predominantly African-Americans. Urban English has its roots in the Creole tongue which was spoken in the South among slaves, and hence some of the differences between it and standard English can be attributed to the adaptation of native African phonological processes and syntax to an English lexicon.

Changes in pronunciation

  • Using D for soft TH, such as "this" pronounced more like "dis."
  • Develarization of final NG: "singing" becomes "singin'."
  • Use of metathesised forms, such as "aks" for "ask." Common patterns of metathesis in Urban English include
    • SC to CS at the end of a word where C denotes any plosive.
    • RC to CR before a vowel anywhere in a word, though this occurs less regularly.
  • Some forms are non-rhotic, in that R's are sometimes dropped if not occurring before a vowel. This is similar to the pronunciation of R in British English.
  • Lowering of some vowels, like ING to ANG, "thing" to "thang."