Comparability of the black-white divide in the American speech community and the coloured-white divide in the Afrikaans speech community

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article attempts to place the discussion on the relationship between African American and european American vernacular Englishes within a broader context involving another speech community split along ethnic lines, namely South Africa's Afrikaans speakers. It specifically attempts to compare observations on the coloured-white linguistic divide within South Africa's Afrikaans speech community with those made on the black-white linguistic divide in the United States, with the aim of shedding light on the correlation between ethnicity and language variation. the article first presents ethnicity and its social and linguistic correlates, drawing on literature on AA(V)E and South Africa. It then identifies the social and linguistic specificities of the American English and Afrikaans speech communities. After presenting a range of grammatical variables and their comparability across both speech communities, it provides an overview first of the various trends of grammatical variation from a mainly variationist perspective, then of Afrikaans-English code-switching, which is treated as a phenomenon that correlates with grammatical variation. It finally attempts to answer the general question whether the U.S. blackwhite linguistic divide and the coloured-white linguistic divide in South Africa's Afrikaans speech community can be referred to as complementary in the study of ethnicity and language variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-335
Number of pages42
JournalAmerican Speech
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this