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date: 21 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

In the years from 1822 to 1860 and beyond, 16,000 African Americans immigrated to West Africa to a colony created for them that became the sovereign nation of Liberia. The language of the immigrants and their descendants, Liberian Settler English (LSE), is a source of evidence as to the character of the 19th African American English (AAE) that the original Settlers brought with them from the United States. The apparatus of internal change has had nearly two centuries in which to operate in LSE. Ongoing language contact has meant that LSE has been subject to a range of external linguistic forces. Nonetheless, this enclave variety shows individual AAE features to be of long standing, including ones that have been proposed as relatively recent innovations as well as those that resemble features of Gullah.

Keywords: Liberia, Liberian Settler English (LSE), nineteenth-century African American English (AAE), Gullah, internal change, language contact

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