LINGUIST List 14.823

Thu Mar 20 2003

Books: Historical Ling, African American Eng: Kautzsch

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  1. mouton, The Historical Evolution of Earlier African American English

Message 1: The Historical Evolution of Earlier African American English

Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 14:15:44 +0000
From: mouton <>
Subject: The Historical Evolution of Earlier African American English

Title: The Historical Evolution of Earlier African American English
Subtitle: An Empirical Comparison of Early Sources
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics 38
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter
Availability: Available
Author: Alexander Kautzsch				

Hardback: ISBN: 3110173018, Pages: xv, 335 pages, Price: Euro 68.00 /
	 sFr 109,- / approx. US$ 68.

This book deals with the historical reconstruction of Earlier African
American English (AAE) as spoken between the second quarter of the
19th and the first quarter of the 20th century. Providing detailed
quantitative analyses of negation patterns, copula usage, and relative
marker choice as observed in a variety of sources, it is one of the
first studies that delivers empirical data to account for temporal
change, regional diversity, and gender variation in Earlier AAE.

A first analytical part studies transcribed interviews with elderly
African Americans conducted in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1970s. The data
used are selections from five sources, which is quite unusual in the
field so far but drastically increases objectivity and comparability.
Apart from assessing the usefulness of properly selected written data
for the analysis of speech, the most intriguing quantitative results
suggest that variation in Earlier AAE is not due to gender, that this
variety of English was not regionally homogeneous in the 19th and
early 20th century, and that linguistic changes within Earlier AAE can
be widely located in the second half of the 19th century.

The second empirical part adds two sets of nonstandard letters to the
analysis. Here, it is shown what impact even some amount of literacy
can have on nonstandard writing, namely that nonstandard structures
that are frequently present in speech (transcribed interviews) become
severely reduced in number, if not suppressed completely, in writing.

For the sake of maximum objectivity and reliability, all quantitative
analyses are introduced by necessary considerations about the
categorization of variables, and wherever possible the results are
tested statistically either by VARBRUL probabilities or by chi-square


I Introduction
II Data and methods
III Negation patterns in Earlier AAE
IV The copula in Earlier AAE
V Relativization in Earlier AAE
VI Comparison of written and spoken Earlier AAE
VII Conclusions
Lingfield(s): Historical Linguistics
		Language Description
Subject Language(s): English (Language Code: ENG)
Written In: English (Language Code: English)

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