Tag Archives: ebonics

Da Nile

When I was pressuring my dad to give me folklore, he told me a proverb completely unrelated to our discussion:

“Denial (da-nile) ain’t just a river in Egypt”

I can’t remember the exact context, but I was being obtuse about something and he was teasing me while also imparting wisdom.

The phrase itself utilizes the way the word “the” is pronounced phonetical like slang.  It is therefore interesting from a class point of view, since the speaker, whether they are educated or not is speaking the way an uneducated person would so there is a sense of playing with class when it is spoken by my dad.  From an African American perspective there may be a small issue of heritage in there since the nile is located in africa.  The reference is vague at best since few African Americans are descendent of Egyptians, but the issue of heritage may still play a role.  The wisdom is still being imparted either way.  This phrase is therefore a good example of how a lesson is being learned through humor