African-American Vernacular English (AAVE)

“If you the cook and the coffee cold, you might only just get talked about that day, but if the coffee bees cold, pretty soon you ain’t gon have no job.”

  • The social characteristics of AAVE

AAVE (also known as Black English Vernacular (BEV, or also BVE), Black English, or Ebonics, and recently African American English (AAE) ) is a sociolect, a variety of non-standard English spoken in the United States by African-Americans of lower socio-economic status.

  • The linguistic characteristics of AAVE

The linguistic structure of AAVE is characterized by specific grammatical and phonological features. While the use of some of these features seems to be restricted exclusively to AAVE, the use of other features differs with respect to the frequency with which they occur in AAVE and other varieties of American English. An example of the former is constituted by the typical absence of the copula `be´ in AAVE which is generally not found in other varieties of American English.

A click on the link below will introduce you to some of the typical linguistic features of AAVE:

The Linguistic Characteristics of AAVE

  • The social history of AAVE

One of the central questions connected to the study of AAVE and its linguistic characteristics concerns its origins and early development. AAVE is sometimes referred to as an ethnic variety of American English. However, studies into pidgins and creoles have pointed to its highly probable creole ancestry. Therefore, it might be more appropriate to treat this language variety rather as a creole form of language with creole roots.

Accordingly, there are three major theories about the origins of AAVE:

(1) The Anglicist Hypothesis

(2) The Creolist Hypothesis

(3) The Neo-Anglicist Hypothesis