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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Dialect accommodation in a bi-ethnic mountain enclave community: More evidence on the development of African American English
Author: Christine Mallinson
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://christinemallinson.com
Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Author: Walt Wolfram
Institution: North Carolina State University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The investigation of isolated African American enclave communities has been instrumental in reformulating the historical reconstruction of earlier African American English and the current trajectory of language change in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). This case study examines a unique enclave sociolinguistic situation – a small, long-term, isolated bi-ethnic enclave community in the mountains of western North Carolina – to further understanding of the role of localized dialect accommodation and ethnolinguistic distinctiveness in the historical development of African American English. The examination of a set of diagnostic phonological and morphosyntactic variables for several of the remaining African Americans in this community supports the conclusion that earlier African American English largely accommodated local dialects while maintaining a subtle, distinctive ethnolinguistic divide. However, unlike the situation in some other African American communities, there is no current movement toward an AAVE external norm for the lone isolated African American teenager; rather, there is increasing accommodation to the local dialect. Contact-based, identity-based, and ideologically based explanations are appealed to in describing the past and present direction of change for the African Americans in this receding community.

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This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 31, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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