A Sociolinguistic Perspective on the Classification of Black People in the Twenty-First Century
Just as African American English is complex and varied, so too are the racial/ethnic groups, Black/African American, associated with the language. Studying the sociolinguistic behavior of other Black ethnics (i.e., non–African Americans) in the United States alongside their native-born and -identified African American counterparts illuminates the ways in which individuals from these communities use and manipulate language, consciously and unconsciously, as a resource to mark their identities. In this chapter, I argue that within their analyses, language scholars should go beyond social categories defined within the U.S. national imagination and incorporate the nuances of groups and individuals allowing for more comprehensive social and linguistic analyses of identity.
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