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This chapter reflects on the future of middle-class AAE and recommends future directions for sociolinguistic research on this topic, both in light of the findings presented in the book, and in the context of the current social, racial, economic, and political climate in the United States.
This chapter uses social psychological techniques to explore the attitudes and perceptions of college students about the concept of "sounding Black" and how various circulating labels both reflect and inform such perceptions.
This chapter provides an historical perspective on the emergence of the African American middle class and the role of language in its development, as well as theories about the origins and development of African American English. Operational definitions are provided for several key concepts, including terms relating to socioeconomic status and language.
African American English (AAE) is a major area of research in linguistics, but until now, work has primarily been focused on AAE as it is spoken amongst the working classes. From its historical development to its contemporary context, this is the first full-length overview of the use and evaluation of AAE by middle class speakers, giving voice to this relatively neglected segment of the African American speech community. Weldon offers a unique first-person account of middle class AAE, and highlights distinguishing elements such as codeswitching, camouflaged feature usage, Standard AAE, and talking/sounding 'Black' vs. 'Proper'. Readers can hear authentic excerpts and audio prompts of the language described through a wide range of audio files, which can be accessed directly from the book's page using QR technology or through the book's online Resource Tab. Engaging and accessible, it will help students and researchers gain a broader understanding of both the African American speech community and the AAE continuum.
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