“Aunt” or “Ant?” It’s Not a Black and White Issue

This story comes from my substitute teaching experience in Anne Arundle County, Maryland, a predominantly White, relatively well off county that is the home of the U.S. Naval Academy.

A pretty little white, blue-eyed blonde kindergartener told me, when I was reading to the class and pronounced the word “aunt” differently from her (that is, it did not sound like the insect, the “ant”) that “black people say “aunt,” (the way I said it) but white people say “ant.” I paused, and told her, no, that is not correct. I told her it depends on where one comes from and that I come from the north, where we say “aunt,” and were taught that “ant” was an insect. I further told her that “ant” is the way a lot of southerners pronounce aunt!

This story is from Linda, a 58 yr. old, light-skinned black woman who is a retired federal public information officer.

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  • Simon

    Perhaps she should also look at how “aunt” is pronounced in other countries that speak English. Most other regions of the world, regardless of race, pronounce it with more of a British flair anyway.

  • Jimiduff

    I come from NY and myself and everyone i grew up witn said ant. But i do notice most black people in NY say aunt.

    • mamba

      NY is mostly black

  • Kori Thompson

    Well up in Massachusetts, everybody pronounced it “Ohnt”. Now I live in Georgia and it’s pronounced “ant”. The black people here, though are the only ones that say “Ohnt”, though. In the south, it’s different. In the north, I guess everybody says it the same.

  • Sam Base

    I never heard anybody say “Ont” until I was in Los Angeles and a black girl said “Ont” and I thought to myself “Why is she speaking with a British accent?” Then when I said “Ant” she looked at me like I was a Martian haha. But we became good friends.