Date of Degree

2-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Linguistics

Advisor

Cecelia Cutler

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Linguistics

Keywords

AAVE, Mock AAVE, computer-mediated communication, dialect stylization

Abstract

This project looks at the use on social media sites of features of African American Vernacular English by nonspeakers of it. This outgroup use of AAVE does not require nor reflect any true proficiency with the variety, but instead is often used to exaggerate the social distance between the stylizers using it on social media and the marginalized people for whom AAVE is a genuine mode of communication. Through double indexicality, nonspeakers of AAVE use features of it to annex certain positive qualities associated with Black or hip hop culture—toughness, coolness, an anti-establishment stance—for themselves, while reproducing negative stereotypes of the people generally thought to speak AAVE. An intertextual analysis of the data, made up of crowd-sourced social media posts exhibiting Mock AAVE, is used to establish the social meaning of the Mock register.

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