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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although segmental analyses have not held the prominence of morphosyntactic analyses in studies of African American Language (AAL), they have always maintained an important role. Several consonantal variables are mainstays of studies on AAL. Recent years have seen a blossoming of vocalic research. Some vocalic features, such as the BIN/BEN merger, glide weakening of the BIDE diphthong, and moderate lowering of the BAIT nucleus, are shared with Southern White dialects, and African Americans have carried them to other parts of the United States. For other features, particularly fronting of the BOAT and BOOT vowels and the merger of the BOT and BOUGHT vowels, African Americans typically lag behind neighboring whites in adopting new variants. There are also vocalic shifts, such as raising of the BAT and BUT vowels without significant diphthongization, that have become associated mainly with certain segments of the African American community.

Keywords: African American Language (AAL), consonantal variables, vowels, vocalic shifts, Southern White dialects

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