African american english: a historical and linguistic overview
Relvas Casimiro, Mariana
MetadataShow full item record
One of the most researched English varieties around the globe is African American English, also referred to as AAE. It is an interesting variety to study not only because of the amount of research it has had since the previous century but also because of how it is treated today by society. AAE has also received many names and labels throughout the years, but I will use AAE since it is a more general term. In this paper, I will attempt to give a historical and linguistic overview of African Americans and AAE, while comparing this variety to Standard American English (SAE) and other white English varieties. To achieve this, the paper is divided into two main sections, a historical section arranged into three subsections, and a linguistic section also arranged into three subsections. As mentioned, the first section deals with the history of African Americans and the emergence of AAE in the US, from the moment slaves first arrived in the continent in the 16th century to the issue of cultural appropriation in the 21st century, including the migration movements of the 20th century and early 21st century. To illustrate the mystery around the origins of AAE, this dissertation also features five theories on the emergence of AAE, some more widespread than others among linguists, and others more influential in the way AAE is perceived in society today. The second section deals with the distinctive linguistic features of AAE compared to SAE and other English varieties, and it is subdivided into sections concerning the phonetic, prosodic and morphosyntactic features. The phonetic section focuses both on consonants and vowels as well as their realizations, while the prosody section focuses on stress, pitch, and intonation. The morphosyntactic section is divided into verbal and preverbal markers, questions, negation, and nouns and pronouns.