African American Vernacular English

Selected Readings

Prof. Peter L. Patrick

 

These references (along with the volume by Mufwene, Rickford, Bailey, and Baugh, see below) were the reading list for a seminar I taught at Georgetown University in Fall 1997. They're meant to be an introduction, not a comprehensive survey, and they reflect my interests and those of my students.

Links on an author's name below are to (1) their webpage or (2) an email link, or to an AAVE-related sub-page if they have one. Only the first mention of an author is linked. Links on a year of publication are to a summary of the work. See the page on summaries for remarks on the latter.

 

Introductory Issues

Baugh, John. 1991. "Terms of Self-reference among American Slave Descendants". American Speech 66(2): 133-146.

Morgan, Marcyliena. 1994. "The African-American speech community: Reality and sociolinguists", in Morgan, ed., The social construction of identity in creole situations: 121-148. Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Afro-American Studies.

Rickford, John R. 1997. "Unequal partnership: Sociolinguistics and the African-American speech community", Language in Society 26:161-197.

Smitherman, Geneva. 1991. " 'What is Africa to me?' Language, ideology, and 'African American'." American Speech 66(2): 115-32.

Smitherman, Geneva. 1994. Black Talk: Words and phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner. NY: Houghton Mifflin Co. Introduction:1-37.

 

History and Development

Asante, Molefi Kete. 1990. "African Elements in African American English", in Joseph E. Holloway, ed., Africanisms in American Culture: 19-33. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Bailey, Guy, Natalie Maynor, and Patricia Cukor-Avila, eds. 1991. The Emergence of Black English: Texts and Commentary. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Holm, John A. 1991. "The Atlantic Creoles and the language of the Ex-Slave recordings." In Bailey, Maynor, and Cukor-Avila, eds.: 231-249.

Rickford, John R. 1997. "Prior creolization of African American Vernacular English? Sociohistorical and textual evidence from the 17th and 18th centuries." Journal of Sociolinguistics 1(3): 315-336.

Rickford, John R. 1998. "The creole origins of African-American vernacular English: Evidence from copula absence." In S. Mufwene, J. Rickford, G. Bailey and J. Baugh, eds., African American English: Structure, history and use: 154-200. New York: Routledge.

Winford, Donald. 1997. "On the origins of African American Vernacular English - A creolist perspective. Part 1: The sociohistorical background." Diachronica 14(2): 305-44.

Winford, Donald. 1998. "On the origins of African American Vernacular English: A creolist perspective. Part 2: Linguistic features." Diachronica 15(1).

 

(Early) Descriptive Studies of Phonology/Morphology

Baugh, John. 1983. Black Street Speech: Its History, Structure, and Survival. Chap. 5, "Specialized lexical marking", and Chap. 7, "Phonological variation". Austin: University of Texas Press.

Fasold, Ralph W. and Walt Wolfram. 1970. "Some Linguistic Features of Negro Dialect". In R. Fasold and R. Shuy, eds., Teaching Standard English in the Inner City: 41-86. Washington, D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Labov, William. 1972. "Some Sources of Reading Problems." Language in the Inner City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular, Chap. 1. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Labov, William. 1996. "Can reading failure be reversed? A linguistic approach to the question." In V. Gadsden and D. Wagner, eds., Literacy Among African-American Youth. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Loman, Bengt. 1967. Conversations in a Negro Dialect. Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. [Data source]

 

Syntax (esp. Tense, Mood and Aspect marking)

Baugh, John. 1983. Black Street Speech: Its History, Structure, and Survival. Ch. 6, "Unique grammatical usage". Austin: University of Texas Press.

Debose, Charles, and Nicholas Faraclas. 1994. "An Africanist approach to the linguistic study of Black English: Getting to the African roots of the tense/aspect/modality and copula systems in Afro-American". In S. Mufwene, ed., Africanisms in Afro-American language varieties: 364-387. Athens: University of Georgia.

Green, Lisa. 1998. "Aspect and predicate phrases in African-American vernacular English." In S. Mufwene, J. Rickford, G. Bailey and J. Baugh, eds., African American English: Structure, history and use: 37-68. New York: Routledge.

Labov, William. 1972. "Is BEV a Separate System Language in the Inner City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular, Chap. 2. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Myhill, John. 1991. "The use of invariant Be with verbal predicates". In W. Edwards & D. Winford, eds., Verb phrase patterns in Black English and Creole: 101-113. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Sells, Peter, John Rickford and Thomas Wasow. 1996. "Variation in negative inversion in AAVE." In Jennifer Arnold et al., eds., Sociolinguistic variation: data, theory, and analysis: 161-176. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

Smitherman, Geneva. 1977. Talkin' and Testifyin'. Chap. 2: " 'It Bees Dat Way Sometime': Sounds and structure of present-day Black English", 16-30. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Winford, Donald. 1992. "Back to the past: The BEV/Creole connection revisited." Language Variation and Change 4(3): 311-357.

 

Identity and Authenticity

Bucholtz, Mary. 1996. "Marking black: The construction of white identities through AAVE." Paper given at Georgetown Linguistics Society conference, October 1996.

Cutler, Cecilia A. 1997. "Yorkville Crossing: a case study of the influence of Hip Hop culture on the speech of a white middle class adolescent in New York City." Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 4(1), A selection of papers from NWAVE 25, 371-397. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Linguistics Dept.

Hill, Jane H. 1995. "Mock Spanish: A site for the indexical reproduction of racism in American English." Language and Culture Symposium 2. http://www.cs.chicago.edu/discussions/l-c/html/archives/subs/hill-jane.

Jacobs-Huey, Lanita. 1997. "Is there an authentic African American speech community: Carla revisited." Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 4(1), A selection of papers from NWAVE 25, 331-370. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Linguistics Dept.

Ronkin, Maggie, and Helen E. Karn. In press. "Mock Ebonics: linguistic racism in parodies of Ebonics on the internet." To appear in Journal of Sociolinguistics.

Sweetland, Julie Dawn. 1997. "Black as Spades: African American English in informal interactions between white and black friends." Georgetown Univ. senior honors thesis.

 

Convergence and Divergence

Bailey, Guy, and Natalie Maynor. 1989. "The divergence controversy." American Speech 64(1): 12-39.

Butters, Ronald R. 1989. The Death of Black English: Divergence and Convergence in Black and White Vernaculars. Bamberger Beiträge zur englischen Sprachswissenschaft 25. Frankfurt am Main: Lang.

Fasold, Ralph W. 1981. "The relationship between black and white speech in the South." American Speech 56: 163-189.

Fasold, Ralph W., ed. 1987. "Are Black and White vernaculars diverging?" Special issue of American Speech 62(1).

Myhill, John. 1995. "The use of features of present-day AAVE in the ex-slave recordings." American Speech 70(2): 115-147.

Patrick, Peter L., Heidi Beall, Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi, Chi-hsien Kuo, Ralitsa Mileva, Jason Miller, Gregory Roberts, Yuko Takakasuki, and Virginia Yelei Wake. 1996. "One Hundred Years of (TD)-Deletion in African American English". Paper presented to NWAV-25 (New Ways of Analyzing Variation) meeting, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, October 19, 1996.

 

Ways of Speaking

Henderson, Anita. 1995. "Compliments, compliment responses, and politeness in an African-American community." In Jennifer Arnold et al., eds., Sociolinguistic variation: data, theory, and analysis: 195-208. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

Jones-Jackson, Patricia. 1994. "Let the Church Say 'Amen'...". In M. Montgomery, ed., The Crucible of Carolina: Essays in the development of Gullah language and culture, 115-132. Athens: U. of Georgia Press.

Labov, William. 1972. "Rules for Ritual Insults." Language in the Inner City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular, Chap. 8. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Morgan, Marcyliena. 1994. "The Africanness of counterlanguage among Afro-Americans." In S. Mufwene, ed., Africanisms in Afro-American language varieties: 423-435. Athens: University of Georgia.

Smitherman, Geneva. 1993. "If I'm Lyin', I'm Flyin' ". Introduction to The Art of the Snap.

 

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