Tuesday, October 31, 2017

African American Children & Teens And The Linguistic Custom Of Using One Or More Periods Within A Sentence

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post documents the custom in certain YouTube discussion threads of the seemingly random use of one period or more than one period within a sentence - and these sentences usually don't end with a period or any other punctuation mark.

I came across this custom this week in four YouTube discussion threads for African American children's/pre-teens' Hip Hop videos.

This post focuses on the presentation of selected examples from these four discussion threads.

The Addendum to this post includes excerpts from a somewhat related 2016 Washington Post newspaper article entitled "Stop. Using. Periods. Period.", and also includes my initial speculations about why some African American children/teens may use a period or periods within sentences in discussion threads for those featured YouTube children's Hip Hop videos.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and linguistic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

Pancocojams Editor:
This compilation provides examples of most of the comments in these discussion threads (as of this date) that include this "period or periods within a sentence" ("pws") linguistic custom.

I've presented these examples within their separate discussion threads, and numbered the discussion threads and the examples within them for referencing purposes. Each of the discussion threads and their examples are given in chronological order, with the oldest dated discussion thread and the oldest comments from that discussion thread given first.

In one example below a comment that doesn't include this custom is given for context before its reply that does include this custom.

My speculation that most (if not all) of these commenters are African Americans (and mostly African American children/pre-teens) is based on the subject matter of these videos, the content of some of the comments, including the subject matter, the use of African American Vernacular English grammar and/or terms, the fact that most of these commenters have contemporary African American associated personal names, and- to a lesser extent- the commenter photographs that accompany some of these comments.

Discussion Thread #1
Kickin it wit my daddy!!

Ricky Weems Jr, Published on Aug 4, 2014
"Lil snippet of a song me and my daughter put together. She only 10 but she is a natural!"...

1. Briana Lyaks
"Your. Welcome"

2. Queen Zay
"Thanks again . If the reader . This email"

3. Xana Walton
"I. love. it"

4. alesha spark
"she. got. a. good. report. card. that.s. why. she. going. to. the. 4th. grade"

5. E'Yana Brown
"ido. not"

6. Neyshyah Crawford
" is. happy"

7. Keri Jackson
"Thas. My. Darter. Song"

8. Lisa Atkins
"I do. Not"

9. Ladie Adams
"I wish I. could good go back to. them. days"

10. Edrin Dorch
"I. Like. The. Song"

11. Ronda Davis
"this is so cute .sweet"

Discussion Thread #2:
Kayliyah Weems Performs Kicking With Her Dad" published The Real Daytime, Published on Sep 23, 2014

"Kayliyah Weems, a 10–year-old YouTube sensation, performs her viral hit “Kickin’ It With My Dad” live on “The Real” stage with her pops by her side. Get ready for for cuteness overload!"

1. cire pearson
"what. do. you mean"

2. Pamela Thomas
"I. LOVE you too much"

3. Tekimbria Spurling
"can't get enough of. this who ever you is"

"I love my bad"

5. Alfred Frisby [2017]
"That is not how you. spell dad"

6. monique palmer
"she's so. good. and her dad is too"

7. Amaya Jamison
"girl. You. can. RAP. andSING"

8. Zaniyah Nelson
"she. cute. and. a. good. singer. πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚"

9. Kemaya Hopson
"So. cute"

10. Ashanti Brown
"Kaliyah Gibbs I. love. youer. song. that. you. Sinhing"

11. Christianna Cole
A pancocojams post about this video and song/rap will be published ASAP.

Discussion Thread #3
Rake It Up Kid Remix | Back To School Anthem published by The Carter Link, on Aug 13, 2017

1. Lashonnia Hall
"The Carter Link. they are some cute. girls"

2. Nani Bonane
"She is. So pretty"

3. Marley Horlback
"She is.all that so stop."

4. Herzell Mccray
"That's my daughter coach you are going. to learn so much from him"

5. Tequilla Smith
"gone. head. then"

6. Belinda Miller
"that is not. thur"

7. Drimaisa Smith
"they. are. all cute. to. me😍😍😍😍😍😘😘"

8. Shundrika Journee4
"iluv. ycanl"
Click for Part I of a two part series about this song/rap. Part I showcases the video and includes lyrics for this song.

Click for Part II of that series. Part II provides an analysis of selected comments from that video's discussion thread.

Discussion Thread #4:
Bodak Yellow - Cardi B (Kid Remix) published by Stephen J. Taylor, Published on Sep 25, 2017

"They were in Day Care, now they are ready for School!
Each of these examples are from October 2017.

1. ruby burdette
"i. don't. like. youπŸ‘Ž"

2. Cool Kids
"That is so. Cute these my playing shoes"

3. Gene-ius Ink
"awwwwwww so cut i am usein somebody's. phone"

*Note: This song/rap wasn't given any title except "Cardi B- Bodax Yellow Kid Remix". I suggested the title "I Am Not In Daycare" since that line is repeated in that song/rap.
Click for Part I of a two part pancocojams series about this song.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II of this series provides an analysis of categories of comments from the YouTube discussion thread for "I'm Not In Daycare" (Kid Remix Of Cardi B - Bodak Yellow).

ADDENDUM [Revised November 1, 2017 8:55 AM]
I haven't searched for examples of this linguistic custom of using a period or more than one periods within a sentence in other YouTube discussion threads. It's possible that there are other examples of this custom in discussion threads for similar childrens'/pre-teens' Hip Hop videos. There also may be examples of this custom in YouTube Hip Hop discussion threads for other types of music, but I don't recall coming across this custom those discussion threads.*

As a result of Google search, I found this related 2016 Washington Post article "Stop. Using. Periods. Period." by Jeff Guo June 13, 2016

Here's an excerpt from that article:
..."one of the cardinal rules of texting, which is that you don’t use periods, period. Not unless you want to come off as cold, angry or passive-aggressive.

A trend piece in the the New York Times on Friday touched on this fascinating development — which, incidentally, has been brewing for at least two decades, ever since kids were logging onto AOL Instant Messenger. The period is no longer how we finish our sentences. In texts and online chats, it has been replaced by the simple line break...

Recent trends in punctuation also hark back to that age, when people used punctuation in more liberal and creative ways. The modern line break is like the medieval punctus — an all-purpose piece of punctuation that inserts pauses wherever we’re feeling it. And the period has gained expressive powers after it was laid off from its job marking the ends of sentences. Now it’s an icy flourish we deploy against frenemies and exes.”...

Several commenters who replied to that article facetiously included sentences that closely resembled the examples that I found on these YouTube discussion threads, except that all of those those sentences ended with a period. Here are four examples from that article:

6/13/2016 1:48 PM EDT
"Sorry. I'm using periods. Period."

6/13/2016 1:53 PM EDT
"Stupid. Article. Doesn't the author realize kids will change style before this link goes off page."

6/13/2016 1:59 PM EDT
"Don't. Tell. Me. What. To. Do."


Sandy Hemphill
6/20/2016 4:39 PM EDT
"No. Way. Ever."

Also, commenter Hayslprs (6/13/2016 9:55 PM EDT) wrote:
"I appreciated this article. My daughter sometimes sends texts with periods after every word, or in seemingly random places. I wasn't aware that it was an intentional expression of anger. I thought it was because she was drunk."
I assume that this commenter's daughter is a young adult and not a teenager from the commenter's casual statement that she thought her daughter was drunk. And, given that this article and comments were in the Washington Post, I also wouldn't be surprised if this daughter who send "texts with periods after every word, or in seemingly random places" is not Black. If so, I wonder whether how widely this linguistic "pws" (periods within sentences) custom occurs among non-Black people.

That said, I don't believe that "pws" is used by the commenters in the discussion threads for children's Hip Hop videos to express anger or emphasis. Instead, I inclined to believe that using one or more periods within a sentence (and usually no punctuation mark at the end of a sentence) is a stylistic visual custom that is meant to convey hipness (being "cool"). As such, I think it's done in a follow the crowd way so that the commenter can be consider as being up to date with the latest "hip" customs. My guess is that this linguistic custom is all about how a sentence "looks" and not how a sentence is spoken.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has come across this custom or using this custom. Thanks in advance for sharing what you know or think about this custom!

* Here's an example of periods within sentences (pws) that I happened upon in the discussion thread for
"Kids React to Starrkeisha Cheer Squad (Petty Dance Challenge)" published by FBE on Jul 19, 2016

jay the greart Canedo, 2016
"hey. kid. react to clash royle. tralier. and. then. play the game"
I didn't read through most of comments on that discussion thread as I did for the other discussion threads that are featured in this post. It's possible that there might be other pws examples on that thread.

Does anyone know of any examples of using a period or more than one period within a sentence before 2016?

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Maybe not ending a sentence with a period or any other punctuation mark isn't that significant to this linguistic trend of the seemingly random use of a period or more than one period within a sentence.

    That may not be significant because a lot of YouTube comments don't end with any punctuation mark - which I consider problematic for a number of reasons, especially if children don't learn and don't use the standard (mainstream) way of writing (and spelling).

  2. Here's an example of periods within sentences (pws) that I just happened upon while reading the discussion thread for the hit 2011 South African House music song "
    Professor "Lento" ft Speedy; Professor "Lento" ft Speedy South African House music video from Kalawa Jazmee by Gorilla Films

    Michael Tevet (2016)
    "What. On earth. Is this video about?"
    My guess is that this commenter isn't a teen, and he may not be African American like I think the commenters are for most of the other pws examples that I've found thus far.

    Maybe this example of pws is meant to convey emphasis. [?]

  3. Here are two more examples of periods within sentences that I've found (without looking for them) in the YouTube discussion thread for the 2011 hit South African House song "Lento" (Notice that these examples are from 2012)
    Professor "Lento" ft Speedy; Professor "Lento" ft Speedy South African House music video from Kalawa Jazmee by Gorilla Films

    rumixa (2012
    "oooooooooooooooooooooooook its on repeat.again.this year."

    Ishuah Kariuki (2012)
    "Best. Song. Ever"
    I definitely think that the periods in these examples are meant to emphasize what is written.

    Btw: The title is "Lento" (Zulu for "This thing") and the artists are Professor featuring Speedy (with beats from Heavy K).

    I plan to publish a two part pancocojams series on this track. I'll add the link to the first post here when it is published. The second link (and any additional pws examples) will be included in that post.