“Where Have You Been” by Rihanna is this week’s new entry in the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts. This week’s hot summer songs have a lot of African American English (AAE) features yet to be explored. Particularly noticeable this week is AAE being featured alongside Standard American English (SAE) in songs that combine both hip-hop and rock elements.
Let’s look at the lyrics:
African American English (AAE) ushers in the holiday week, popping up all over the Billboard Charts. These top ten hits seem to be playing with AAE vocabulary, like swag, and tense-marking-suffixes. Check out some samples of the African American English features in these chart-topping songs:
To speak about African American English is to also speak about the children and the communities who speak this language. The Academy Award winning 1993 feature film, I Am A Promise, documents one year in the life of African American children attending Stanton Elementary School, an elementary school in urban Philadelphia.
The film opens with the following information:
“Stanton Elementary School is located in North Philadelphia, a troubled inner city neighborhood. Stanton is designated a Chapter One School which receives federal funds to help educate disadvantaged poor children who test below national norms in reading and math. All of the students are African American boys and girls between the ages of four and ten. At Stanton over 90% of the children come from single-parent homes and live in poverty.”
Written by guest bloggers LaShaya Howie and Akintoye Moses.
We BEEN considering how to break down the linguistic features of African American English. BEEN contemplating the oral tradition of boastin’ and braggin’ within the African American experience. The bottom line, is that we BEEN in need of an examination of the complexities of how we, as African Americans, have BEEN using language in profound ways. Read more…
Written by guest blogger Simanique Moody
In many cultures, proverbs are used to counsel, impart wisdom, and motivate others. The beauty of proverbs is that while their use and interpretation reflect universal human experiences, they also carry localized meanings and frames of reference unique to individual cultural groups. Proverbs allow community members to orally transmit knowledge and cultural values to one another. Read more…
Singer Joy Denalane.
Written by guest blogger Casey Wong
From Jamaica, France, Puerto Rico, Japan, to Palestine, to almost every continent on Earth, hip-hop has gone global. Joy Maureen Denalane, born to a German mother and South African (Xhosa) father in Berlin, adds a new twist to the global spread of African American English (AAE) and culture. Read more…
An eclectic mix is topping the Billboard Charts this week and everything from pop to electro-hop songs seem to reflect features of African American English (AAE). Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not claiming artists such as Lady Gaga are native AAE speakers! But we do argue that many of the artists we hear on the radio are influenced by African American music and language. Highlighted here are features commonly associated with AAE. Keep in mind, these features are not exclusive to AAE, and can be found in other non-standard dialects of English spoken across regions and social groups.
Let’s take a look at the lyrics: Read more…