Skip to main content

African American Vernacular English: Features, Evolution, Educational Implications

African American Vernacular English: Features, Evolution, Educational Implications

John Russell Rickford

ISBN: 978-0-631-21245-4

Jul 1999, Wiley-Blackwell

428 pages

Select type: Paperback

In Stock



In response to the flood of interest in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) following the recent controversy over "Ebonics," this book brings together sixteen essays on the subject by a leading expert in the field, one who has been researching and writing on it for a quarter of a century.

Related Resources


Contact your Rep for all inquiries

Series Editor’s Preface.




Part I: Features and Use.

1. Phonological and Grammatical Features of African American Vernacular English.

2. Carrying the New Wave into Syntax: The Case of Black English BIN.

3. Preterit Had+ V- ed in the Narratives of African American Adolescents: with Christine Theberge Rafal.

4. Rappin on the Copula Coffin: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in the Analysis of Copula variation in African American Vernacular English: with Arnetha Ball, Renée Blake, Raina Jackson, and Nomi.

Martin I.

5. Ethnicity as a Sociolinguistic Boundary.

6. Addressee- and Topic-Influenced Style Shift: A Quantitative Sociolinguistic Study: with Faye McNair-Knox.

Part II: Evolution.

7. Cut-Eye and Suck-Teeth: African Words and Gestures in New World Guise: with Angela E. Rickford.

8. Social Contact and Linguistic Diffusion: Hiberno English and New World Black English.

9. Copula Variability in Jamaican Creole and African American Vernacular English: A Reanalysis of DeCamp's Texts.

10. Prior Creolization of AAVE? Sociohistorical and Textual Evidence from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

11. Are Black and White Vernaculars Diverging?.

12. Grammatical Variation and Divergence in Vernacular Black English.

Part III: Educational Implications.

13. Attitudes Toward AAVE, and Classroom Implications and Strategies. 14. Unequal Partnership; Sociolinguistics and the African American Speech Community.

15. Suite for Ebony and Phonics.

16. Using the Vernacular to Teach the Standard.



"John Rickford has been studying AAVE for nearly 30 years and is recognized as one of the experts leading the discussion about AAVE and implementing solutions to a number of associated problems." James H. Yang, Language in Society
* Written by a leading scholar within the Ebonics debate with 30 years of experience in the topic.
* Reflects the author's fluency in Guyanese Creole English and research experience with such related varieties as Barbadian, Jamaican, and Gullah.
* Reflects an expertise that resulted in the author's many appearances and consultations in the media and at conferences as a commentator/expert in the weeks and months following the 1996 Ebonics controversy.
* Encompasses the features, evolution, and educational implications of AAVE/Ebonics.
* Provides a superb wide-ranging survey of essential themes and issues in contemporary African American Vernacular English.