Grammatical Conventions Of Native American English: Lumbee English

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A culture and language that has taken centuries to develop has rapidly faded away in the span of a few years. A culture and language of value, respect, and beauty, of a people that have educated us on how to survive, people that we owe not only our lives to, but the lives of our ancestors to. A form of Native American English called Lumbee English is a language primarily spoken in Robeson County North Carolina by a tribe known as the Lumbee Indians, who are the largest group of Native Americans East of the Mississippi River. According to research conducted by linguists Walt Wolfram and Clare Dannenberg, Lumbees make up forty percent of the county’s population where they live amongst African Americans and Europeans, who they receive a lot of…show more content…
Wolfram stated that one unique grammatical convention of Lumbee English is the use of I’m instead of I’ve. Some examples are: “I’m told you all that I know” and “I’m been there before.” Another grammatical convention noted by Wolfram is the use of be instead of is, a grammatical convention similar to African American Vernacular English. One example is “he never bes there,” which means he never is there. Additionally, Wolfram brings to attention that Lumbee English adds a- prefixes to verbs. Some examples of this are “She’s a-fishin,” “She’s a-runnin,” and “He’s a-swimmin” (Wolfram, 2006). Lumbee English also has its own particular vocabulary that includes words like “budges,” which means a nervous irritation, “juvember,” meaning a slingshot, and “ellick,” which is a cup of coffee (Brewer & Reising, 1982). These unique grammatical conventions and vocabulary carry more weight in Lumbee culture than many know, because people of their tribe see Lumbee English as a representation of their history and of…show more content…
The American public 's reaction to Lumbee English were negative and they tried to erase the language and their culture. In 1880 the government established Indian boarding schools where Native American students were treated harshly and were forbidden to express their culture or speak their language. A direct quote from one of their headmasters was “Kill the Indian, save the man”(History and Culture "Boarding Schools," 2016). The boarding schools served as more of a “correctional facility” than a school and imprisoned children of all ages. These boarding schools did not close until 1932, and in that time many children were whipped, mentally scarred, and some even died. There are hundreds of reported cases of Native American students dying in schools and there are even more that are not on paper. With time people have become more accepting of other cultures but the stigma towards Lumbee English still exists. The standardization of American English has created a lot of tension with other dialects of English present in the United States. Presently outsiders see Lumbee English speakers as uneducated because it is not the form of English they learn in schools, but the issue is slightly more complex. North Carolina’s dialect of English has southern routes that give it a different accent,

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