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The History And Construction Of African American English

2740 words - 11 pages

The debate about African American English has continued to gain a lot of scholarly attention; this fact has led to many studies concerning the history and the construction of this language to be conducted. Moreover, the African American English has gained popularity during the 21st century and has continued to be used in creating music lyrics for rap and r’n’b. On the other hand, throughout the history of African American Vernacular English it has had many different names including Negro English, Ebonics, Negro American dialect and Black English among others. Besides the language having many names, it has also been associated with many different cultures and people. This essay paper will examine and outline the origin and the development of the African American Vernacular.
It is apparent that African American Vernacular English is a variety of speech that was adopted from the working class descendants of the United States slaves in the colloquial contexts. Apparently, the distinctiveness of the AAVE has invited much speculation about its origins, for instance, for many years, the central question of whether the language evolved from a prior creole has remained debatable. On the other hand, the question of whether the language has its roots in English has not been fully dealt with. In order to resolve these questions, researchers have sought to understand the origin and the development of AAVE language by examining the historical attestations and the synchronic transplanted varieties. The most important historical attestations are from the recordings of the former slaves who learned the language in the middle of the nineteenth century. Researchers have used the African American Diaspora as the source of their finding of the origin and the development of the AAVE language. Presently, AAVE is divergent because of the fact that African Americans have faithfully preserved their ancestors’ language besides avoiding any participation of many ongoing linguistic changes in most of their surrounding communities.
The early development of African American Vernacular English
For many years, the African American Vernacular English have been considered as an inferior form of speech in comparison with the other American vernaculars and particularly the American Standard English. The prejudice of AAVE has been long lasting and in the 19th century, there was a common view that identified AAVE as been quite different from other languages. This factor was attributed by the fact that the language was associated with the African American who were considered genetic inferior. Despite of the negative view of the AAVE language, it continued to grow and by the mid-20th century most linguists began to embrace AAVE, and thought of it as a vernacular of its own right. Because of this fact, an analysis of its early linguistic structures and systems developments began to be put into attention. The results of this analysis have resulted to both the considerable...

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