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Leanin译|身为黑人女性,我希望我能停止语码切换.这就是原因.

励媖深圳2020-08-14 09:05:12

文︱Maya Lewis  翻译︱王健  审校&编辑︱wongyang&白白

译者说


美国打叙利亚,中美贸易战的不稳定让我认知了弱国无外交。而黑人,站在了弱者的位置,她们哪怕是语言的说话方式都需要转变、而不能被主流社会接受。除了国力强盛外,依然需要的是无数先驱的不断推动。




(以下为正文及译文)


Whenever I call my mother at work, I’m often a little taken aback. She picks up the phone, says hello and asks how she can help me. I know she’s my mom but she doesn’t sound like herself. She sounds like her own twin, one who has perfect intonation and articulation.

 

Until I say “Mom, it’s me.” Her entire tone changes. I feel like I can hear her personality return to her words when she says, “Oh hey, baby girl, how’s ya day goin’?”

 

She’s code-switching.

 

Code-switching is most commonly defined by linguists as “the alternation between two or more languages, dialects, or language registers in the course of” a single conversation or exchange, according to Glottopedia, a website dedicated to linguistics.

 

It is often discussed in reference to bilingual persons. For example, for many Latinx people code-switching is when you quickly flow between speaking Spanish and English, usually mixing the two languages depending on who you are speaking to and in what context.

 

Code-switchers typically do so for several reasons, but it is generally related to our cultures and communities. Black people usually code-switch between a more Standard English (usually associated with White people or societal elite) and AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), but even the ability to code-switching can also be steeped in classism, educational bias and colorism.

 

We code-switch between home and work, or corporate spaces and communal spaces.

 

Take, for example, the recent Sundance film, Sorry to Bother You directed by Boots Riley, staring Atlanta’s Lakeith Smith. The film is about “a Black telemarketer [Cassius] who shimmies up the corporate ranks by finding his inner “white voice,” setting off alarms with his activist girlfriend Tessa Thompson,” said the Hollywood Reporter in a review. His “white voice” sends him down a messy path.

 

Black people who work or move in white spaces find themselves code-switching a lot and usually to our own detriment. For myself, Cassius and many other Black persons working in white spaces, these are reasons to cut back on the code-switch.

 

Here are three reasons I, as a Black woman, wish I could cut back on my own code-switching.

 

1. Code-switching requires work on the part of the “switcher.”

 

I’ve been code-switching so long and so well that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I’ll be having a conversation with a co-worker and suddenly I will have a slight out of body experience. I hear myself speaking and think “Oh Gawd. Is that me?”

 

But code-switching is not easy. It’s a form of translating. It requires a constant awareness, and though it gets easier the longer you do it, it’s still work.

 

I learned to code-switch overtime through years of teachers reprimanding the way myself and friends spoke, watching the way my dad spoke to co-workers in his corporate reality job or seeing how white people responded to me differently when I added back the “g’s” to my words and dropped all slang.

 

I remember feeling like I was somehow ashamed of the way my family or friends spoke when I first began to code-switch like I was hiding a piece of myself from my non-black friends. I didn’t only co-switch in white workspaces but in non-black social spaces as well. I found myself co-switching even when I wasn’t “on the clock.”

 

Code-switching between Standard English and AAVE is a cool skill to see in action but it’s also a skill learned out of necessity—not choice.

 

Mainstream white America refuses to accept AAVE (and other forms of Vernacular English) as a worthy form of communication, which is why students are taught in Standard English and not any other vernacular in school. It’s been a hot-button topic in education for decades.

 

2. Code-switching can be a form of assimilation, embedded with respectability politics.

 

Why do people Black people (or other people of color) code-switch in white spaces? Well, typically to be better understood.

 

Speaking in AAVE to a person that doesn’t understand it, you may have to rephrase or explain what you mean, instead—you say it in a way that they will understand—you code-switch.

 

Some Black people view code-switching as a valuable skill essential to moving successfully through life; just a part of living in America’s melting pot. Others view it as simply making a choice to speak “fluent English.”

 

But underneath, there is a feeling of judgment and respectability politics or the attempts by marginalized groups to self-police those things about you that are different than the mainstream.For code-switching, that means viewing Standard English as better than AAVE. In reality, linguists proved decades ago that AAVE has its own set of grammatical and phonetic rules.The only reason it is not viewed as such is because of linguistic prejudice, based in racism. Standard English is often associated with education and prestige, demanding more social respectability.  

 

It has been proven that in some cases by speaking AAVE you risk losing access to opportunities in the corporate spaces.

 

In other cases, often dealing with law enforcement, the ability to code-switch to Standard English, or presenting yourself “and behave in a way that [make you] a non-threatening person of color,” said Chandra Arthur, tech entrepreneur,  can “be the difference between life or death.”

 

3. Code-switchers are not giving others the opportunity to learn. It can be a form of coddling.

 

Ask yourself, “Who is expected to code-switch?”

 

Code-switching between AAVE and Standard English is not switching languages. It is switching dialects. AAVE is a form of the English Language, and even if you don’t speak it, with practice you can understand it.

 

Many people of color moving in white spaces do it instinctively, whether out of fear of miscommunication or prejudice, but by code-switching, they coddle those around them.

 

Instead of challenging them to meet you halfway by learning how better to understand you and this aspect of your culture, they have to do no work at all. By code-switching, you have done all the work for them.  

 

Code-switching should not be a one-way street in which all minorities are expected to code-switch to Standard English. By doing that, we lose the opportunity to learn more about one another.

 

***

I do not think code-switching is inherently bad. Sometimes, it can mean a quick and easy communication between two people. But it shouldn’t be our default, in order to be taken seriously or respected.

 

AAVE is a perfectly valid dialect of the English language, and by regularly code-switching, we are not allowing the world to view it as such.

 

Code-switching, like many other aspects of Black culture—like natural hair, skin-color, jazz or hip-hop music—should be embraced and not hidden away. And no, that doesn’t be that I plan to use AAVE always and in all situations, but we shouldn’t feel punished for doing so, or feel forced to speak Standard English in order to succeed.

 

Talk the way you talk. Code-switch if you aren’t being understood, but never make it your responsibility or only option. The way you speak is perfectly valid.

 

每当我在上班的时间给妈妈打电话,我总是有点吃惊。她拿起电话,say hi询问是否需要帮助。我知道那是她,但听起来不像她自己。她听起来像她自己的双胞胎,一个拥有完美语调和发音的人。

 

直到我说妈妈,是我她的整个音调都变了。当她说:哦,嘿,宝贝儿,你今儿怎么样”的时候,我就知道那个最真实的她又回来了。

 

我知道,她在语码切换(即沟通形式切换)

 

语言学家最常见的语码切换定义是一次对话或交流过程中两种或多种语言、方言或语言表现之间的交替变换,这是语言学专业网站Geltopopdia所

 

这经常被双语人士使用。例如,对许多拉丁语而言,语码切换通常根据你的谈话对象或交流语境,来快速在西班牙语和英语之间进行选择切换

 

选择语码切换的人通常若干原因,但它通常与我们的文化和社区有关。黑人通常在标准英语(通常与白人或社会精英交流使用)和AAVE(非裔美国人白话英语)之间进行切换,但即使是具有语码切换能力也被阶级主义、教育偏见和种族歧视所影响

 

我们在家庭和工作之间,公司空间和公共空间之间,都会进行语码切换

 

举个例子,最近的圣丹斯电影Boots Riley导演的 抱歉打扰。这部电影讲述的是一位黑人电话销售员[卡西乌斯],寻找他内心的白色声音’过程中,他与他的激进主义女友泰萨汤普森发现了公司背后的黑暗秘密。好莱坞记者在评论中说到。他的白色嗓音使他走上了一条进退两难之路

 

在白人空间中工作或生活的黑人发现他们自己语码切换状态有很多,而且通常黑人自身产生损害。对我Cassuis和许多在白人空间工作的黑人而言以下是我希望减少语码切换的原因。

 

以下为三个理由我,身为一名黑人女性,希望能减少我自己的语码切换状态

 

1、语码切换会在使用者身上产生部分影响

 

一直长时间使用语码切换以至于我甚至没有意识到我这样做。当我将和一位同事交谈,我会突然有轻微灵魂出窍的感觉。我听到自己在说话,想:噢我的天呐!那是我吗?

 

但是切换并不容易。它类似一种翻译形式。它需要一个持续的专注,虽然你做越久,它就会变得越容易,依旧只是一项转换工作。

 

多年来,我通过老师们对我和我朋友说话方式的斥责,看着我父亲实际工作中对同事说话的方式,或看到白人对我是否儿化音”的不同反应等等这些如何进行语码切换。

 

我记得当我第一次开始切换语码时,我我家人或朋友说话的方式而感到羞愧,这种感觉就像我从一个非黑人朋友身上藏起来一部分自我一样。我不仅在白人工作空间中切换,在非黑人的社交空间中也进行切换。我发现自己时时刻刻都在语码切换。

 

标准英语和AAVE之间进行语码切换一项很酷的技能,但它并非因为主动要求而习得——它并非自我选择的结果

 

主流美国白人拒绝AAVE(其他形式的白话英语)作为一种有价值的交流方式,这就是为什么学生在学校接受标准英语教学,而不是任何其他方言。几十年来,这一直是教育界的热门话题。

 

2、语码切换是同化的一种形式,可体面地将政治倾向注入其中

 

为什么黑人(或其他有色人种)的语码要在白人空间中切换?嗯,这或许需更好地理解。

 

一个不熟悉AAVE的人交流时,你可能需要重新表述或解释你的意思,而你要用一种他人能理解你的语码方式来表达。

 

一些黑人认为语码切换是一种很有价值的技能,能更好的经营生活只是生活在美国熔炉中的必要一部分。其他人认为这只是简单地选择说一口流利的英语,仅此而已

 

在其背后,有一种判断和尊重政治倾向意味,或者边缘群体努力去自我警示那些自身与主流不同的东西对于语码切换,这意味着需要把标准英语看AAVE更好。事实上,几十年前语言学家证明AAVE有自己的语法和语音规则。不被重视唯一原因是基于种族主义语言偏见。因为标准英语常常与教育和声望相关联,能获得更多的社会尊重。

 

事实证明,在某些情况下,说AAVE可能会失去在企业中获得晋升的机会。

 

在其他情况下,尤其涉及到执法场景,语码切换为标准英语的能力,或表现自己“行为举止暗示自己是一名不具威胁性的有色人种”,技术企业家Chandra Arthur说,有时候可以相当于“生死有别的程度”

 

3、语码切换的人没有给别人学习的机会。它其实一种变相娇纵方式

 

问问你自己,“有谁会喜欢语码切换?

 

AAVE和标准英语之间进行语码切换并不是交换语言。它是在切换方言。AAVE是英语的一种形式,即使你不说,也可以通过练习来理解它。

 

许多在白人空间中生活的有色人种会本能地使用它,无论是出于害怕误解还是偏见,通过语码切换,他们在变相娇纵着身边的人。

 

比起迫使白人通过学习如何更好地了解你和你文化的这一面,他们根本就没有做任何事。然而通过语码切换,你已经为他们做了所有的了解工作。

 

语码切换不应该是一条单行道,所有的少数族裔的语码切换成标准英语。这样做,会使我们失去更多了解彼此的机会。

 

***

我不认为语码切换的本质是不好的。有时,这意味着两个人之间快速简单的交流。即便为了被认真对待或尊重不应演变为需要我们单方面背负的责任

 

AAVE是一种完全有效的英语方言,通过常规语码切换,我们不允许世界这样看低它。

 

语码切换就像黑人文化中的其他方方面面,如自然头发,肤色,爵士乐或嘻哈音乐——应该被包容接受,而不是隐藏。当然,这意味着我打算在任何情况下使用AAVE,但我们不应该因为这样做而感到不适,或为了追求成功而被迫去说标准英语。

 

用你希望的说话方式来交流。如果你没有被理解,尝试语码切换,但永远不要把它当作你的责任或唯一的选择。记得,自己的说话方式是完全行之有效的。


原文摘自Everyday Feminism官网,本文为Lean in Shenzhen原创翻译,转载需注明作者及来源平台,并与Lean in Shenzhen取得联系。

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