This article provides a variable analysis of negation in Gullah and considers the implications of the observed patterns of variability for the debate over the history and development of African American English (AAE). For many years now, linguists have debated over the possibility of an AAE-creole connection and have hypothesized in particular about the putative role of Gullah (or a Gullah-like creole) on the origins and development of AAE. In recent years, negation has become a central topic in this debate, with examinations of variable negation in both early and contemporary varieties of AAE. However, practically no analysis has been done on the system of variable negation in Gullah. This study aims to fill this gap in the literature by providing a quantitative analysis of variable negation in both copula and noncopula constructions in Gullah. While no definitive claims are made about the AAE-Gullah connection based on this analysis, certain patterns in the data, such as the alternation between ain't and didn't in past contexts, allow for the possibility of a historical connection between the two varieties.
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Tracey L. Weldon; GULLAH NEGATION: A VARIABLE ANALYSIS. American Speech 1 November 2007; 82 (4): 341–366. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-2007-023
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