Where did the jive style of slang come from? It sounds pretty funny... specially from that scene in Airplane.

1 Answer 1


The "jive style of slang" is a dialect of English, most commonly known as African-American Vernacular English. Americans might have heard in the 90s about Ebonics, which is the same thing. I don't think it is really appropriate to call it jive anymore. You can see from the Wikipedia page that it has many names, partly because it is a sensitive topic for many, and some names have become stigmatized.

Its precise origins are not entirely clear. Some speculate that it was English that was heavily influenced by West African languages, some believe that influence was minimal. In either case, it shares many features of Southern American English.

  • I dnno.. it doesn't sound like ebonics to me. i can usually understand ebonics, but the stuff from that urbandictionary page made no sense at all, and especially remembering the scene from the airport it sounded completely different too. if anything i'd say jive has evolved into AAVE, but not that they're the same thing.
    – Claudiu
    Oct 29, 2010 at 1:53
  • 5
    I don't know what to tell you. The "jive talk" that you heard in Airplane was an exaggerated joke form that was intended to be as difficult to understand as possible. But I assure you that what was called "jive" 40 or 50 years ago is called AAVE nowadays. Here is a PPT presentation for a linguistics class that talks about AAVE and specifically references that "jive" scene in Airplane: docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.stanford.edu/~tylers/…
    – Kosmonaut
    Oct 29, 2010 at 2:06

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