Development of African American English
This book focuses on one of the most persistent and controversial questions in modern sociolinguistics: the past and present development of African American Vernacular English (AAVE).
Despite intense scrutiny of the historical and current development of AAVE, a number of issues remain unresolved. Most prominent among these is the development of African American English during the antebellum period and the trajectory of change in twentieth-century AAVE. This book addresses both of these issues by examining an unparalleled sociolinguistic situation involving a long-standing, isolated, biracial community situated in a distinctive dialect region of coastal North Carolina. This unique environment provides a venue for dealing with questions of localized dialect accommodation and ethnolinguistic distinctiveness in earlier African American English.
The conclusions drawn challenge the Creolist, Anglicist, and neo-Anglicist positions with respect to the history of AAVE and offer insights into the development of African American speech in the twentieth century.