Why Do Black People Say AKs Instead of Ask?
If you’re a white American who has ever wondered why do black people say aks instead of ask, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not a racial thing at all. In fact, you’ll find that the two are often interchangeable. This is called metathesis, and it’s an all-too-common process.
The origin of the word “ax” is unclear. But it does appear in the Coverdale Bible, which was published in 1535. Its use was later picked up by black writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and August Wilson. Even today, it’s used by some African American comedians and preachers for dramatic effect. However, it’s also used by a variety of people who aren’t of African descent. And it appears in many forms of English, including Appalachian English, Middle English, and British varieties.
In fact, the word “ax” is actually a synonym for the word “aks” in Middle English. However, “ax” is pronounced differently than “aks.” Many people think of “ax” as an uncivilized language, and some linguists even consider it to be an impurity of the language. Others believe it’s a legacy of slavery.
However, there’s nothing really wrong with saying “ax.” You just might not be hearing it correctly. That’s because the word has been around since the Old English period, and there are a variety of pronunciations. Some dialects retained the original “aks” pronunciation, while other changed it to the more common “ask.” Eventually, “ask” took over.
There are many reasons why this happens. The first reason is that black people are generally expected to speak the same way as white people. For example, many people assume that blacks are more educated, and therefore talk like educated white people. Also, less-educated blacks are assumed to be speaking Southern English.
Another reason for the variation is that “ax” is used to describe poor and uneducated people. In this sense, blacks have a negative association with it. As a result, a lot of people don’t pronounce it correctly. Instead, they say “axsed” or “aksed”.
When the word “ax” is said, it sounds uneducated to most Americans. But that’s not always the case. Some of the best jobs in the country require good pronunciation of the words you need to use. And even when you’re a college graduate, you can use “ax” regularly.
Besides its pronunciation, “ax” has a different meaning for black Americans than it does for whites. Often, blacks will joke about it, calling it an “axe” instead of an “ask.” People who say this are being socially stigmatized. Ultimately, it’s just not mainstream English.
Although there’s no hard and fast rule, some educated black people are taught to say “ask” when they don’t know what to say. While the word isn’t completely ahistorical, it’s easy to see why blacks are so angry about it.
On the other hand, it’s not just black people who use a variation on the word “ask.” Whites can pronounce it too, and the word has been known to appear in Asian and African dialects.