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2005 LSA Institute Linguistic Society of America









LSA.224 | Syntactic Patterns and Variation in African American English

Lisa Green
TR 2:55-4:35
location: 32-124

This course on syntactic patterns in African American English (AAE) has two parts. The first part of the course is an introduction to syntactic description of constructions in African American English (AAE), and the second part focuses on integrating variation into syntactic description of these constructions. The first part of the course will consider properties of AAE in the following areas: negation, inversion and the left periphery, tense and aspect, genericity, and the be system (including the copula, auxiliary be, and aspectual be). The focus of this section will be on syntactic description in the generative grammar framework; however, some questions about semantics will be raised. Some of these phenomena will be discussed from the acquisition perspective, and child AAE data from an ongoing project will be presented. The majority of analyses of features in AAE have been in variation theory framework. The second part of the course will consider variation in AAE and ways in which it can be accounted for in syntactic description. Some of the accounts of the structure of Early AAE have been based on arguments from variation, which will be considered in light of properties in current AAE. The course will end with a comparison of variation in selected syntactic constructions in AAE and in other non-standard varieties of English and ways in which it can be accounted for in syntactic analysis.

Prerequisites: Some formal theory will be introduced, but anyone with some linguistic background will be able to follow the course.

Recommended Textbook
Title: African American English: A Linguistic Introduction.
Author: Lisa Green
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521891388