Chapter 3: By the Way, What You Mean by “African-American English”?

Another Note about Terminology; or, The Difficulty of Labeling the Language Patterns

and Practices of Black People in the United States

Who Uses African American English?

African American English Is a Complete Linguistic System

The Next Step: Adding Your Own Research to the Study of AAE and Black Language


How Faculty Can Take This Knowledge Forward

  • Defines African-American English, giving geographic and historical information as to its origins and the populations that speak this linguistic variety
  • Describes core sociolinguistic concepts of language, communication, variety, dialect, and register, centered on and informed by Africana studies and critical race theory
  • Gives a detailed linguistic overview that contextualizes and explains key phonological, phonetic, morphosyntactic, lexical, and discourse features of African-American English (AAE)
  • Includes real examples of language: The use of key AAE features will be discussed in highlighted boxes and linked to online media content
  • Key themes: 
    • Why the politics of representation, including names and labels such as AAE, matter
    • The structure and social context of AAE are interwoven and interrelated: A focus on culture and meaning
    • The critical utility of linguistic and cultural knowledge: Helping us move from understanding to empowerment
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