THE NU NAYBAHOOD FUNETIC EBONIC DICTIONARY
D. Munyungo Jacksons The Nu Naybahood Funetic Ebonic Dictionary, is a tongue-in-cheek look at the many ways this language has seeped into American culture. Ebonics is the African American linguistic way of putting our fingerprint on the Kings English. As an adaptable people, it is a well-known fact that the descendants of Africa make a flamboyant statement wherever they settle in the world. Original speech patterns, derived from West Africa, where the majority of slaves were stolen, have survived down to this day. Slavery, segregation, even integration have failed to stamp out the memory of the Homeland. Instead of speaking many of the languages indigenous to Africa, the Elders used a creolized version as a way of maintaining our own separate identity. And from one generation to the next, the Diaspora have handed down our unique way of expressing ourselves, so much so that other ethnic groups often imitate it now.
This book gives us a keener insight into Ebonics. It helps us to recognize the fact that most people use the language. It puts the highly-educated, nose-in-the-air persons in check, because they will discover that they are guilty of speaking "Ebonics." This book is a collection of words and terms that we use everyday. Some old, many new. Some of these words are actually 2 or 3 words put together, but the way some of us speak, they sound like one word. For example, "WAOUNCHU," translates as "Why dont you--" The book provides an alternate English for you proper-speaking folks.
You will not find most of these words in Websters or anybody elses dictionary. The book allows one to reflect on how he/she talks. Ebonics is spoken by many ethnic groups; therefore, it is the perfect book for school teachers. The book is so real and so funny.
As a well-known, world-traveled musician, D. Munyungo Jackson comes into contact with a cross-section of society, which puts him in a position of authority to have written this book. With no further delay, introducing first-time author, D. Munyungo Jackson!
M.T.: What inspired you to write this book?
D.M.J.: As I said in the foreword of the book, a group of educators in the San Francisco Bay area were trying, unsuccessfully, to make Ebonics an official language in the public school system there.
After many jokes, stories, and scenarios coming across on the Internet of how Black people supposedly talk (which I took offense to), I began listening closer to how we DO talk. I then began collecting words (in my organizer) Id hear US say. I would spell them exactly how they sounded, phonetically if you will.) At that time, my intention was only to share with friends and bring to attention, in a joking way, some of the words and phrases WE did use. Not making a judgment of whether it was proper English or not, it was funny. But, after collecting like maybe some 400 words, people would begin to say "You odda make dis a book! It would be funny, and Id buy it!"
My mind began to spin, (as well as I began to spend my savings account,) on a new laptop computer. Not knowing how to work one, I just went for it! After a few friends of mine stepped in to help clear up the mess, I began to see a book take place!
M.T.: How did you find out about Milligan Books?
D.M.J.: I found out about Milligan Books from a card my sister (who has a childrens photo-coloring book and is very enterprising, herself) gave me. The card said "Black Writers On Tour!" This knocked me out, since Im into anything Black! I then paid a visit to Ms. Milligan and she told me I needed to come to a seminar. I left there "flying" with all the information they were "giving up" (sharing) there!
M.T.: Your book was just published in November, 1998. I noticed your book was featured in The Publishers Weekly in December, 1998. How did you accomplish this feat?
D.M.J.: How did I get into Publishers Weekly?
Its nice to have friends, and I have a very good friend who is a writer at Publishers Weekly. At the time, she was doing an article on new releases from Black writers. I sent her my book and got in just under the wire!
M.T.: Thank you, Munyungo. So I see you started with an idea, you gathered the information, and became computer literate. (For those of you who cannot afford a laptop, I wrote my first book on a small $299 word processor from which the information could be converted into a computer. Dr. Milligan has written all 9 of her books by hand.) Next, you went to the Black Writers on Tour last May, 1998, and received guidance and information. Six months later, voila!-you have a completed product, a book. Now the real work begins. You have used guerilla marketing techniques, and you received exposure for your book through networking. New writers out there, Get Busy!
As Madame C. J. Walker said, "I got myself a start, by giving myself a start."