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AAVE Features In Beyoncé’s Songs


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Rajič, Martina. (2018). AAVE Features In Beyoncé’s Songs. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Starčević, Anđel].

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This thesis investigates the morphosyntactic and lexical features of African American Vernacular English as occurring in the audio and visual album Lemonade of the R&B, pop, and hip-hop singer Beyoncé. Despite the fact that studies of non-standard and distinctively African American grammatical features abound, the interest for researching their occurrence within the context of mainstream music is still infrequent. Although small, the present corpus of our study was specifically selected because of its accentuation of black identity issues. The rationale behind the selection of the corpus was that, in order to achieve the appropriate effect, the specific characteristics of the language of the African American community had to be exploited to a large extent. The study we conducted has confirmed this hypothesis: although some of the ‘core features’ associated with AAVE were missing (habitual be, the remote past BIN), many other AAVE features, both grammatical and lexical, were used throughout the songs. Apart from presenting the theory concerning the variety, the research part presents instantiated characteristics of AAVE and discusses the possibilities and restrictions on their occurrence. We also present specific African American lexical items found in the corpus and categorize them by topic. We hope that this study may present a foundation for further sociolinguistic and educational studies related to the use of performed language in communicating racialized identities and ideologies.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: AAVE, non-standard features, Beyoncé, mainstream music, black identity, performed language
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Starčević, Anđel
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2018 11:52
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2018 11:52

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