"Smitherman weaves her own understanding of language into a delightful introduction to the complexities of Black English . . . a must-read." The Washington Post
"Embedded here is the hidden history of a people and their resonant culture. This is a major work of scholarship." -- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"The speech of African Americans has been defined by many terms--black English, Ebonics, African American vernacular, and African American language. Smitherman (Talkin' That Talk: Language, Culture, and Education in African America) traces the history of black language, describes its unique features, and demonstrates its impact on 'standard English' in her excellent introduction to this volume. She also provides a provocative discussion on the recent Ebonics' debate--whether black youth should be instructed in their 'native language' as well as 'standard English'. The bulk of Black Talk, however, is the dictionary of black language. Unlike most dictionaries, this one 'concentrates on the historical and contemporary significance of words and phrases in the context of African American culture and the Black experience' rather than providing the origin or etymological history of a word or phrase. This revised edition (the first was published in 1994) gives hundreds of definitions for word in current usage, including recent additions like 'jiggy', 'flava', 'benjamins', and 'D.W.B.' (Driving While Black). An essential volume for all libraries; smaller libraries that own the earlier edition need not purchase the update." Library Journal