Structure, History, and Use
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This book was the first to provide a comprehensive survey of linguistic research into African-American English and is widely recognised as a classic in the field. It covers both the main linguistic features, in particular the grammar, phonology and lexicon and the sociological, political and educational issues connected with African-American English.
The editors have played key roles in the development of African American English and Black Linguistics as an academic field of study and along with other leading figures, notably Geneva Smitherman, Bill Labov and Walt Wolfram, they provide an authoritative, diverse guide to this vitally important subject area. Drawing on key moments of cultural significance from the Ebonics controversy to the rap of Ice-T, the contributors cover the state of the art in scholarship on African-American English, and actively dispel misconceptions, address new questions and explore new approaches. This classic edition has a new foreword by Sonja Lanehart, setting the book in context and celebrating its influence.
This is an essential text for courses on African-American English, key reading for Varieties of English and World Englishes modules and an important reference for students of linguistics, black studies and anthropology at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Table of Contents
List of figures and tables
List of contributors
SALIKOKO S. MUFWENE AND JOHN R. RICKFORD
1 The sentence in African-American vernacular English
STEFAN MAR TIN AND WALT WOLFRAM
2 Aspect and predicate phrases in African-American vernacular English
3 The structure of the noun phrase in African-American vernacular English
SALIKOKO S. MUFWENE
4 Some aspects of African-American vernacular English phonology
GUY BAILEY AND ERIK THOMAS
5 Co-existent systems in African-American vernacular English
6 The creole origins of African-American vernacular English: evidence from copula absence
JOHN R. RICKFORD
7 Word from the hood: the lexicon of African-American vernacular English
8 African-American language use: Ideology and so-called obscenity
ARTHUR K. SPEARS
9 More than a mood or an attitude: Discourse and verbal genres in African-American culture
10 Linguistics, education, and the law: Educational reform for African-American language minority students
Salikoko S. Mufwene is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College at the University of Chicago. He is the founding editor of Cambridge Approaches to Language Contact.
John R. Rickford is the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He is Past President of the Linguistic Society of America, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Guy Bailey is a sociolinguist and the 1st president of the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley.
John Baugh is the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and president-elect of the Linguistic Society of America.
Long before #BlackLivesMatter was a hashtag, the contributors to this volume understood, in the 1990s already, that linguistic discrimination against African-American English is one key component in structural violence aka systemic racism against Blacks in the U.S. Each chapter exquisitely documents a particular linguistic, historical or social dimension that makes African-American English a treasure for its speakers and for the community at large. The book as a whole is a roadmap for honoring African Americans and their language—thus honoring the very dignity of our lives and our future. Indeed our Black lives cannot matter if our languages do not matter.
Michel DeGraff, MIT Linguistics, Haiti
As a scholar of African American English, I keep this book within arm’s reach at all times! With contributions from some of the central researchers in the field, this book remains a definitive text on the structure, history, and use of African American language. It deserves to be recognized for the classic that it is!
Tracey L. Weldon, The University of South Carolina, USA