Chapter published in:Processes of Change: Studies in Late Modern and Present-Day English
Edited by Sandra Jansen and Lucia Siebers
[Studies in Language Variation 21] 2019
► pp. 139–156
African American English in nineteenth-century Liberia
Processes of change in a transported dialect
This chapter investigates African American English as it was transported to Liberia in the nineteenth century based on vernacular Liberian letters compiled in the Corpus of Older African American Letters. The analysis focuses in particular on the individual variation in the verbal paradigm of an emigrant family. The findings show that family members evince similar changes in progress transported from the American South but that social changes induced by the migratory movement have resulted in changes with regard to verbal -s marking that take very different paths of developments in two generations of the same family.
Keywords: Earlier African American English, Liberia, emigration, individual variation, social change, verbal concord
Published online: 13 August 2019
Auer, Anita, Daniel Schreier & Richard J. Watts
Condre-Silvestre, Juan Camilo
Montgomery, Michael, Janet M. Fuller & Sharon DeMarse
Nevalainen, Terttu & Helena Raumolin-Brunberg
Schneider, Edgar W.
Schneider, Edgar W. & Michael Montgomery
forthcoming. ‘This is all answer soon’: African American vernacular letters from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Raymond Hickey ed. Keeping in touch. Familiar letters across the English-speaking world Amsterdam John Benjamins
(in prep.) You must excews my Bad writen. A historical sociolinguistic analysis of early African American letters. Post-doctoral thesis. University of Regensburg.
Stuart-Smith, Jane & Claire Timmins
Van Herk, Gerard & Shana Poplack
Waters, Cathleen & Sali Tagliamonte
Wiley, Bell Irvin