This Study analyzes the accommodation of certain African American Vernacular English (AAVE) grammatical features by 65 Hispanic middle schoolers in two newly established hispanic communities in North Carolina: Durham (urban) and Zebulon (rural). It examines the extent to which three grammatical features (invariant be, copula deletion, and third-person singular -s deletion) are being adopted, the manner in which they are being used, and the influence of various social factors on usage. The students' use of these variables is then compared with how the variables are used by their African American peers. The study found that Durham Hispanic adolescents were much more likely to use AAVE features than their Zebulon counterparts and that in some cases Durham Hispanic adolescents actually used some AAVE features at a higher rate than their African American peers. Taking various social factors into account, including gender, length of residency, gang affiliation, and contact with African Americans, the data suggest that only gender and gang affiliation are influential in the use of AAVE features within this community: males and students who report gang affiliation being more likely to use these AAVE features. This finding, along with the sharp contrast between the rural and urban speakers, suggests that some Durham Hispanic adolescents may use AAVE features to create—or “index”—an identity associated with urbanity and masculinity.
IDENTITIES IN TRANSITION: THE USE OF AAVE GRAMMATICAL FEATURES BY HISPANIC ADOLESCENTS IN TWO NORTH CAROLINA COMMUNITIES
STEPHANY BRETT DUNSTAN; IDENTITIES IN TRANSITION: THE USE OF AAVE GRAMMATICAL FEATURES BY HISPANIC ADOLESCENTS IN TWO NORTH CAROLINA COMMUNITIES. American Speech 1 May 2010; 85 (2): 185–204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-2010-010
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