389 (formerly 390D) Introduction to African American English - online (SBU) (4 units)

Summer 2012


Summer Session 3 (July 11-August 14, 2012) - online


Lisa Green []


African American English (AAE), a linguistic variety with set rules governing sentence structure, sound structure, word structure, and meaning, is the most widely studied variety of American English. It has mainly been studied from a sociolinguistic perspective, in which topics such as the following have been discussed: language and identity, appropriation of AAE features by “outsiders,” variation in AAE across the US, and the impact of AAE on education. The course will take up some of these issues as well as investigate the linguistic structure or components of the grammar of AAE. In addition it will consider historical origin and representation of AAE in the literature and media, especially in relation to literal and figurative blackface and language. Finally, the course will address attitudes toward AAE and views about what it actually is by considering an Atlanta, Georgia, law enforcement agency’s call for “Ebonics” translators. Is the agency seeking people who speak “the lingo” or native AAE speakers?


Offered through Continuing and Professional Education. See http://www.umassulearn.net to enroll.