Washington, D.C., has been home to a majority African American population since the late 1950s, with many in the United States considering D.C. an African American cultural center. At the same time, in the 1960s, it became a key site for foundational studies of African American Language (AAL), spearheaded by researchers from the Center for Applied Linguistics and Georgetown University, as the field of sociolinguistics was in its infancy. This article is composed of two main parts: first, it provides relevant sociocultural and demographic information on the history of African Americans in D.C.; second, this article provides an overview of the history of linguistic research on AAL in D.C. and surrounding areas. Research on D.C. AAL has proceeded steadily, if somewhat sporadically, since the 1950s, with some studies achieving wider circulation than others. This article thus provides relevant linguistic and sociohistorical contextual information for readers interested in learning about D.C. AAL in connection with the introduction of the Corpus of Regional African American Language, whose core component is centered on D.C. AAL.

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