Article published in:The Evolution of Englishes: The Dynamic Model and beyond
Edited by Sarah Buschfeld, Thomas Hoffmann, Magnus Huber and Alexander Kautzsch
[Varieties of English Around the World G49] 2014
► pp. 349–364
The English origins of African American Vernacular English
What Edgar W. Schneider has taught us
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.
Keywords: African American Vernacular English (AAVE), American Southern English, American White Southern English (AWSE), Atlantic English creoles (AEC), creole origins, English origins, Gullah, Jim Crow, segregation, West African Pidgin English (WAPE)
Published online: 12 September 2014
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