LING-285 African American English
Spring for 2017-2018
No other dialect of English has received as much academic and social attention as African American English. From negative critiques to positive celebration of the dialect, the objective of this course is to provide a survey of African American English (AAE) from linguistic structure and social application. Topics explored in the course will focus on the following areas:
Features of AAE—vocabulary (lexicon, including slang), pronunciation (phonetics and phonology), grammar (morphology and syntax)
Art—rhetoric, expression, speech events like rappin’ and signifyin’ as well as the Black preaching genre, AAE and its influence in music
History and variation—AAE’s relation to African languages, examination of the creole comparison, earlier examples of African American English, variation within AAE
Education—issues connected to the use of AAE, attitudes and effects on teachers’ expectations as well as linguistic profiling, and the extent to which AAE affects the learning of Standard English and the acquisition of reading skills
Each week, course participants will explore a different topic from the aforementioned areas and apply the theoretical lesson to practical application, including but not limited to ethnographic observation, data collection, data analysis, student presentations and guest lectures from researchers in the field. Students will use data from and (possibly) collect data as part of the Language and Communication in Washington, DC (LCDC) project as the variety of AAE studied in this course will mainly be that of Washington, DC.
There are NO prerequisites for this class, nor do you need any previous linguistic knowledge.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: