You never know how much African American Vernacular English, AAVE, you don't know until you're added to the GroupMe for the incoming freshmen. There's so much cultural dialect, sometimes it's hard to keep up. Regional variations can make it difficult to understand what someone is trying to say.
With the help of HBCU students around the country and other Fresh U HBCU writers, I've compiled a list of common words and phrases that you may hear on campus. This list will help keep you from looking like DJ Akademiks when you're trying to converse with your classmates.
noun | dar•ty | \ˈdär-tē\
day + party
Example: Xavierites attended an all-white darty during homecoming week.
What's the wave or What's the word
Example: "Bro what's the word tonight?"
noun | tel•ly | \ˈte-lē\
Example: "The party promoters stay on my timeline about that telly coming up!"
verb | jef•fing | \ˈjef-fiŋ\
acting fake or spitting game
Example: "I love jeffing with people." or "Don't be trying to jeff with me now"
verb | \ˈjȯs\
The act of entertaining someone whether it be friendly or flirty
Example: "That boy jocing bad huh?"
6. "I'm About to Slide"
on the way to the function
Example: "Yeah bro, I'm about to slide, see you in a few."
7. "You green bruh"
state of disbelief when someone does something that shocks you
popular phrase in New Orleans; best to use context clues because "yea" can mean anything
Example: "My lil yea" or "I'm yea with the yea"
9. "You Buddy"
lame, friendly; negative connotation
Example: "You too buddy bruh."
noun | \ˈsləg\
Example: "Yo bruh lemme hold a slug"
11. "Mad ____"
adverb | \ˈmad\
popular in New York; extremely or very
Example: That car is mad nice.
noun | \ˈjȯn, ˈjän\
popular in Philly; can be used to mean anything but used most as a replacement for a thing
Example: "You heard that new jawn by Hov?" or "You saw them shoes? Them jawns is nice"
adjective | \ˈslȯ\
describing something that is trash or terrible
Example: "Ay man, y'alls president is slaw."
interjection | \ˈjü\
a way of getting someone's attention
Example: "Alright ju" or "What's up ju"
verb | jag•ging | \ˈja-giŋ\
Example: You jagging right now.
Being from Alabama and growing up in a majority white neighborhood, I didn't hear African American Vernacular English until I moved to Louisiana (I kid you not). It took me a while, but I was able to catch on quickly. AAVE varies from region and region and sometimes words can have different meanings in different areas. If all else fails, it's best to use context clues. Just like American Sign Language, you can never know too much AAVE! Use this short yet efficient list to start learning more AAVE outside of the normal words/phrases you hear and use daily to expand your vocabulary.
Lead Image Credit: Zachary Nelson via Unsplash