African American Vernacular English

Origins of AAVE
There is some controversy about the origin of AAVE. Some people
believe that the Black people, who were brought to America as slaves,
picked up English from theEnglish-speaking’ Southerners they came in
contact with. The proponents of this theory, also known as the dialect
hypothesis, note that the AAVE and the English spoken by the American
Southerners have many features in common, such as the Southern Vowel Shift,
vowel lowering, and double modals. (Sidnell, background) The theory
contends that the white Southerners in the 17th century spoke a distinct
“Virginian” dialect that had its origins in a family of regional dialects
spoken in the south and west of England in counties such as Sussex, Surrey,
Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire, Oxford and Gloucester during the 17th
century. (Williams, 24)Although the use of such a dialect in polite
conversation quickly disappeared in England by the end of the 18th century,
most of its characteristics persisted in the American South. According to
this theory, theincorrect’ English picked up by the Blacks from the
Southern whites was passed down through subsequent generations. In other
words, this theory (also known as thedialect hypothesis’) about the
origins of AAVE contends that the present form of the dialect is simply
“bad English” and has nothing to do with the native, Western African
languages of the slaves. In answer to the question as to why this type of
English does not currently exist among its originators, the proponents of
this theory argue that most people avoid using “bad” English when they get
educated. They contend that the Englishmen from the south and west counties
of Britain and the white Southerners discontinued the use of such an
incorrect’ form of English after being educated; the African Americans
continued to persist with suchbad’ as they did not benefit f…