Diachrony and AAE: St. Louis, Hip-Hop, and Sound Change outside of the Mainstream

Renee Blake, Cara Shousterman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In this article, the authors provide a diachronic analysis of the urr variable as it appears in African American English (AAE) spoken in St. Louis. While many believe that this linguistic feature is a product of hip-hop, invented recently for creative purposes, the authors provide linguistic evidence that shows it to be a prevalent feature of dialects of AAE spoken in St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois, at an earlier time. The authors suggest that the increase in vowel centralization that evolved in St. Louis is similar to that found in Memphis, Tennessee, along an s-curve pattern. Finally, the authors theorize about how the use of the urr variable by hip-hop artists correlates with its increased usage in present-day local communities. They employ notions of indexicality, meaning making, acts of identity, and accommodation to argue for linguistic convergence between St. Louis rappers and local communities. They argue that the increased usage and acceptance of vowel centralization in local communities is supported by hip-hop language as opposed to innovated through it.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)230-247
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of English Linguistics
    Volume38
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2010

    Fingerprint

    hip hop
    centralization
    linguistics
    community
    dialect
    accommodation
    artist
    acceptance
    present
    language
    evidence
    American
    African American English
    Diachrony
    Local Communities
    Sound Change
    Hip-hop
    Centralization

    Keywords

    • African American English
    • dialectology
    • hip-hop
    • identity
    • indexicality
    • regional variation
    • sound change

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Linguistics and Language
    • Language and Linguistics

    Cite this

    Diachrony and AAE : St. Louis, Hip-Hop, and Sound Change outside of the Mainstream. / Blake, Renee; Shousterman, Cara.

    In: Journal of English Linguistics, Vol. 38, No. 3, 2010, p. 230-247.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Blake, Renee ; Shousterman, Cara. / Diachrony and AAE : St. Louis, Hip-Hop, and Sound Change outside of the Mainstream. In: Journal of English Linguistics. 2010 ; Vol. 38, No. 3. pp. 230-247.
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