Unendangered languages, endangered people
The argument of this paper may be outlined as follows:
• African American Vernacular English [AAVE] is not an endangered dialect; on the contrary, it is continuing to develop and diverge from other dialects.
• The primary condition for such divergence is residential segregation.
• Residential segregation, combined with increasing poverty, has led to a deterioration of many features of social life in the inner cities.
• In these conditions, a majority of children in inner city schools are failing to learn to read, with a developing cycle of poverty, crime and shorter life span.
• A reduction of residential segregation will lead to greater contact between speakers of AAVE and speakers of other dialects.
• If at some future date, the social conditions that favor the divergence of AAVE are altered, AAVE in its present form may become an endangered dialect.
Download a pdf version of Unendangered languages, endangered people.