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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores rural African American Vernacular English (AAVE) both as the variety from which urban AAVE developed and as a variety that more recently has been influenced by urban AAVE grammatical innovations, by examining the speech of the residents of Springville, Texas, a former tenant farming community with a population of 150. It looks at rural AAVE as a source variety by examining the speech of residents born between 1890 and 1940 and how urban AAVE influenced rural AAVE by examining the speech of residents born after World War II through 2002. The analysis shows a dynamic, rapidly changing variety characterized by continuities that have persisted throughout the history of AAVE, rural features that largely disappeared during the Great Migration, and urban innovations that seem to have developed in the urban North and spread to the rural South, especially during the last quarter of the 20th century.

Keywords: African American Vernacular English (AAVE), rural AAVE, urban AAVE, Great Migration, AAVE grammatical innovations, Springville, Texas

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