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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides readers with an overview of analyses of traditional and contemporary work on language use in African American communities in the Oxford Handbook of African American Language (OHAAL). This introduction provides a justification for the need to provide a variety of scholarly perspectives on African American Language (AAL) with respect to sociohistorical origins and perspectives, regional variation, structure and description, child language acquisition and development, education and pedagogy, social and cultural contexts, attitudes and beliefs, and identity. In addition, this Introduction serves to provide a discussion on clarity and specificity in discussions about naming and defining AAL (or African American English) as well as about what it is and is not. Finally, this Introduction serves to highlight a need for collaborative perspectives and innovative thinking while reasserting the need for better research and communication on AAL within and outside the linguistic community in general and sociolinguistics in particular.

Keywords: African American Language (AAL), African American English (AAE), child language acquisition, identity, African American communities, language use, sociohistorical origins, regional variation

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