The PBS website has a wonderful section on AAE from its ‘Do You Speak American?’ program with a detailed outline that covers some of the grammatical and syntactic features and includes examples. It also has a brief section on the important Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School Children v. Ann Arbor School District Board case that established one of the first legal precedents for educators to be aware of and properly sensitized to AAE.
Great Books to check out:
Spoken Soul, by John and Russell Rickford, is a wonderful resource for in-depth analysis of the grammar, syntax, and phonetics of AAE. It also explores the history and development of ‘black english’ in America.
Beyond Ebonics, by John Baugh, gives a detailed and informative account of the Oakland school board Ebonics controversy of 1996. It’s a well-researched portrayal of the language education hurdles facing America’s black youth.
English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States by Rosina Lippi-Green and Verbal Hygiene, by Deborah Cameron, are two fascinating books that will change the way you think about your attitudes towards language. You may have more prejudices than you think!
African American English: A Linguistic Introduction, by Lisa J. Green, is a more serious textbook type resource with comprehensive linguistic descriptions of the grammar, syntax, sound system, and usage patterns of AAE.
Talkin that Talk: African American Language and Culture, by Geneva Smitherman (aka “Dr. G”, aka “Mother of AAE”), is a compilation of the work of this early scholar of AAE. It is a wonderful resource for understanding the history behind issue pertaining to AAE.
Other Sites of Interest:
Okay, so we are not the first. We have stumbled upon another wordpress.com blog with a similar angle to ours, that is, students interested in reaching the larger public about African American English. We think they deserve a shoutout, even if the project may have been short-lived. If you can’t get enough here (or you can and you have to escape), check out the now-defunct Black English, Society & Culture Webography.