African American Vernacular English

Language is often linked to culture. African-American Ventricular English is no different, but it is often considered “slang” and not respected as an actual version of standard English. Even African-Americans don’t realize their speech patterns are representative markers of a language that is closely linked with their identity . These speech markers are the use of  the habitual “be”, the use of double negatives, when certain auxiliary and copula verbs are dropped, the word “ain’t”, and the usage of two-syllable content morphemes.
African-American English evolved from English, and is a dialect that has negative stereotypes due to the history of African-Americans in the United States of America. It is related to Southern American English, most likely due to slavery. However, it is different in some pronunciations, its grammatical structure, phonology, and vocabulary. Also, many speakers of African-American Ventricular English express their thoughts differently than speakers of Southern American English. African-American dialect is affected by the regions people are from, and the region they live in. Along with their ethnicity and race, age has a huge impact on if African-Americans speak Black English.

I did notice in my research that “be” doesn’t replace “is” in every situation, which confirmed it was the use of invariant “be.” The “be” was considered habitual if it describes extend action in the present, and not an action that is happening right now. This grammatical aspect isn’t present in Standard English. People who speak Standard English uses adverb, but African-American English speakers’ use “be” as the unconjugated form of the verb to be to signal a regularly occurring action. As speakers use the habitual “be” that eliminate some third person verb inflections.
The second component of African-American English studied was the use of  double negatives, which occurs when two forms of negative words are used in the same sentence. The second negative  word employed is an intensifier, and strengthens the negative connotation.
The third part of Black English studied was the use of “ain’t”, which can be part of double negatives. “Ain’t” is often used in place of “can’t” or replaces “hasn’t” in certain past tenses, however is it a general negator and is used freely instead of “am not” “isn’t” “aren’t” “hasn’t” “haven’t” and “didn’t” in African-American English.

Content morphemes and functional morphemes are modified when they contain two syllables in Black English. Speakers of the dialect naturally come to the realization of the final velar nasal as the alveolar nasal causes the “g- dropping” at the end of -ing words. The change doesn’t occur when there is a one syllable word, so it is concerned with pronunciation. The absence of the copula and an auxiliary verb occurs when speakers of African-American English

speaker don’t use any form of the verb to be in a sentence that requires that form if it were spoken in Standard English. Speakers of African-American English don’t always drop phrase auxiliary or copula verbs, because “am” and the past tense of “was” and “were” were never left out of a sentence.

Although there is still a social stigma attached to African-American language, it is more acceptable to speak it then it was in the past. The media has made words from African-American English acceptable. The popularity of hip hop music and African-American athletes has put the characteristics of the English in everyone’s home.


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