Acknowledging the voices of families
Johnson, Sasha Rosena
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This dissertation evaluates the use of African American English (AAE) and how identity is manifested through dialectal features used by African American families from various socioeconomic classes in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. AAE linguistic features are examined detail, which is traditionally done in sociolinguistics. In addition, this study also analyzes metadiscourse discovered through metadiscursive commentary of AAE that the interviewees have experienced, witnessed and perceived in multiple social situations and institutions. Through their language use, each interviewee’s discourse is analyzed using social realist theory and the methodology of critical discourse analysis (CDA). With this particular framework, the concepts and theories of speech as a social act, agency, the epistemic and moral stances in narratives, and social and personal identities are examined and discussed. The findings connect traditional Sociolinguistics analysis with that of metadiscourse and include comparisons of participants through the social factors of age, gender, education, and household income. This research is useful to linguists and educators because it gives a voice to African Americans revealing their linguistic attitudes towards AAE, education, and more. Furthermore, it shows AAE-use as a form of solidarity among the African American community and that it is more than a dialect of only the working class and the poor.