Spoken Soul by John Russell Rickford
The Story of Black English

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In Praise of Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English

"Spoken Soul brilliantly fills a huge gap. . . . a delightfully readable introduction to the elegant interweave between the language and its culture."
–Ralph W. Fasold, Georgetown university

"A lively, well-documented history of Black English . . . that will enlighten and inform not only educators, for whom it should be required reading, but all who value and question language."
Kirkus Reviews

"Spoken Soul is a must read for anyone who is interested in the connection between language and identity."
Chicago Defender

Claude Brown called Black English "Spoken Soul." Toni Morrison said, "It's a love, a passion. Its function is like a preacher’s: to make you stand out of your seat, make you lose yourself and hear yourself. The worst of all possible things that could happen would be to lose that language."

Now renowned linguist John R. Rickford and journalist Russell J. Rickford provide the definitive guide to African American vernacular English–from its origins and features to its powerful fascination for society at large.


About John Russell Rickford

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JOHN R. RICFORD is Martin Luther King Jr. Centennial Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University. An internationally recognized authority on African American Vernacular English, he has published several books, scores of articles in scholarly journals, and articles in Discover magazine, among others. He has been quoted in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Jet, and USA Today and on ABC, NPR, and other television and radio stations. RUSSEL J. RICKFORDussell is a freelance journalist and formerly a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Published August 10, 2007 by Wiley. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Spoken Soul

Kirkus Reviews

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They must avoid thinking of Black English as "bad English" or "lazy English."

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Project MUSE

It is a story told by a scholar (JR) and a journalist (Russell Rickford) with roots in the speech community and deep, broad knowledge of the language variety that is essentially connected to the heart and soul of African American people in the United States.

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