LINGUIST List 7.1118

Wed Aug 7 1996

Sum: Pronunciation of AAVE

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. Rachel Lagunoff, Sum: Pronunciation of AAVE

Message 1: Sum: Pronunciation of AAVE

Date: Mon, 05 Aug 1996 23:28:31 BST
From: Rachel Lagunoff <>
Subject: Sum: Pronunciation of AAVE

Following are the results of my query on the pronunciation of AAVE. I
called it an acronym, but it can also be pronounced as a set of
initials. (I wish in English we had a word like the French 'sigle'
which covers both!)

In a course I taught this summer, I found I was alternating between
pronouncing AAVE as the intitials, or as the acronym /eyv/. I noticed
some of my students started saying /ave/, and wondered what the
consensus was among linguists. The consensus is: there is no
consensus. I've copied the replies I received below. Thanks to all
who responded!

Stefan Martin:
I study and write about AAVE, and so far there seems to be no
consensus on how the acronym should be pronounced. I think aaah-vay
is pretty silly, as that reminds one of "ave Maria." So I've settled
on the pronunciation that rhymes with "pave."

Peggy Speas:
I say [ey ey vi i], but I've also heard people say [av].

Charlie Rowe:
As far as I am aware, it is pronounced letter by letter: [?e?e vi?i],
just as BVE was/is pronounced [bi vi ?i].

Mark A. Mandel:
I pronounce it "ay-ay-vee-ee". That means that for me it isn't an
acronym. As an acronym it would be something like "ayv" (rhyming with
"wave"), or "ah-v" (=schwa).

Rachel Lagunoff

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