• Language varieties that are defined not only by geography, but by some other social
property -- community, race, class, first-language, or some combination of these
o Standard American English
o New York Puerto Rican English
o AA English
o Boston Brahmin
o App. Eng.
o Penn. Dutch Eng.
o Chicano Eng.
o London Multicultural Eng.
African American English
• One of the most well-studied dialects of English
• Emerged among slaves in the South, spread with mobility of AA northward and
westward, maintained within AA communities across the US -- but always changing, like
• Spoken predominantly by AA -- but not all speakers are AA, and not all AA speak it
o There is also regional variation
o Social variations
o Most speakers of AA are multi-dialectical and can code-switch depending upon
Some AAE phonological features
• Consonant cluster simplification consonant deleted when both consonants have same
• Interdental fricatives realized as alveolar stops or labiovelar fricatives
• Final stop devoicing/glottalization
Representing AAE phonology in writing
• “The Real Question” poem by Paul Dunbar
• “Story in Harlem Slang” by Zora Hurston
• Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosely
Some AAE mor