A friend downloaded a load of books onto my Kindle. My favourite books are thrillers and crime books. I’ve just finished ‘The Twelfth Card’ by Jeffrey Deaver, a Lincoln Rhyme Novel, a criminologist, and wheelchair bound.
Jeffrey Deaver has dedicated the book to Christopher Reeve, an actor. Mr Deaver writes: ‘To the memory of Christopher Reeve, a lesson in courage, a symbol of hope.’
It a very good story, but alas, I didn’t understand the jargon some of the younger characters used. I tried the website. but nothing came up to explain to me the meaning of the words ‘phat’, ‘wack’, ‘def’, and ‘dissed’. The author says they are are African-American vernacular words.I have heard the words in rap songs, but even if I make out the words, I don’t understand them. Can anyone out there help me!
I quote one website what it says about African-American vernacular words: AAVE for short. Also called, less precisely, black Vernacular English (BVE). A variety of American English, mostly spoken by urban working class and largely bi-dialectal. Middle-class African Americans often call it Ebonics (a term that also has other meanings and connotations). Some say that AAVE shares enough characteristics with African Creole languages spoken around the world.
As with all linguistic forms, its usage is influenced by age, status, topic and setting.
Where ever Mr Deaver got the words from I don’t know. But he uses them when black youngsters are talking. One of the main characters, a young black girl, uses standard English most of the time, but reverts to AAVE when talking to her friends.
Apart from not understanding these words, one interesting fact in the book was about the city of Brooklyn. Mr Deaver says it was known as Breuckelen, brought to us by courtesy of the Dutch West India Company in the 1640s. First official city in the state of New York. Also home of Walt Whitman. An American poet, essayist, journalist and humanist. Born 1819 – 1892.