African American English in the Diaspora

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Wiley, Oct 8, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 293 pages
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This provocative volume investigates the origins of contemporary African American Vernacular English (AAVE), one of the oldest, yet unsolved, questions in sociolinguistics.

Exploring the hypothesis that contemporary AAVE is a direct descendant of colonial British English rather than of a widespread Creole precursor, this volume presents a comprehensive analysis of tense and aspect as manifested in recorded conversations with 101 former slaves and their descendants. The study is staged in three distinct "diaspora" enclaves in Canada and the Caribbean, whose language has evolved independently of AAVE, modern Creoles and neighboring speech varieties.

Advanced quantitative methodology, combined with linguistically precise analyses of English dialects in historical context, make this an essential text for researchers and students of linguistics, the history of English and African American Studies.

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About the author (2001)

Shana Poplack is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Linguistics and Director of the Sociolinguistics Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. An expert in linguistic variation theory and its application to diverse areas of language contact, she has published widely on code-switching, Hispanic linguistics, Canadian French, and numerous aspects of African American English. She is editor of The English History of African American English (Blackwell 1999).

Sali Tagliamonte is based at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on morph-syntactic variation and change in the evolution of English. Currently she is investigating British dialects and conducting cross-variety comparisons amongst British and North American dialects.