How did AAE Develop?

Total time for this activity: 20 minutes

During this activity, you will be working in groups of three. First, read this short article published by the University of Oregon, entitled How did AAL Develop? Then, assign each member of the group to one of the three main hypotheses for how African-American English developed:

  • The Creole (or Creolist) Hypothesis
  • The English Origins (or Anglicist) Hypothesis
  • The Substrate Hypothesis

Each group member will then spend a few minutes arguing in favor of their assigned hypothesis. After each group member has had a turn to defend their assigned hypothesis, be prepared to report your results to the full group.

Reflection activity: After today’s session has concluded, reflect on your reading and the debate from this activity. Be sure to also consider what you learned in the reading for this module. Which of the three theories to account for the origin of African-American English do you favor? Why?