Different Language, Different Rules
The following are some of the linguistic differences between Mainstream American English and African-American language. The patterns in the latter, some linguists argue, are derived from the rules governing many West African languages and persist in the language that many African-American students speak, using English vocabulary.
Mainstream American English:
The "th'' sound is regularly used at the beginning of words.
So: then, they.
To show possession, speakers use an apostrophe followed by
So: John's cousin.
The "irregular'' past tense of the verb "to be'':
singular: I was, you were, he was
plural: we were, you were, they were
Two negatives in a sentence make a positive statement.
So: "It isn't likely that there won't be any rain'' means it will probably rain.
At the beginning of words, "th'' is pronounced as "d.'' The "th''
sound does not exist in many West African languages.
So: den, dey.
To show possession, speakers use word order and word stress.
So: John cousin.
The "regular'' past tense of the verb "to be'':
singular: I was, you was, he was
plural: we was, you was, they was
The more negatives used in a sentence the more negative the
So: "Nobody don't have no excuse'' means everyone is without an excuse.
Source: The Language Development Program for African-American Students, Los Angeles Unified School District.
Vol. 13, Issue 36