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The English origins of African American Vernacular English

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Abstract

This chapter shows how the English-origins hypothesis on the emergence of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) seems to prevail against the creole-origins alternative. My arguments are embedded in the socioeconomic history of contacts between African slaves and European colonists (mostly farmers and indentured servants) on the tobacco and cotton plantations of the American Southeast, where Southern English emerged before the institutionalized race segregation in the late 19th century. I submit that Jim Crow fostered AAVE indirectly in triggering the Great Migration of African Americans to segregated northern and western cities, where they relocated in separate ethnic ghettos, and their otherwise regional vernacular was ethnicized. I make allowance for African and creole substrate influence, which I distinguish from the creole-origins hypothesis.

References

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