African American English (AAE) is one of many linguistically complex dialects of English spoken in the United States and elsewhere. To help set AAE apart from others, multiple descriptive terms are found in the literature. AAE is often described as a native dialect to distinguish it from other dialects that emerge when English is learned as a second language. AAE is also described as a cultural, ethnic, or social dialect spoken by some but not all African Americans; these labels tie AAE to African American culture and identity.

AAE is frequently described as a nonmainstream, stigmatized, and undervalued dialect, terms that carry meaning when comparing AAE with dialects of English that are viewed as more mainstream, less stigmatized, and more valued. This entry discusses research on ...

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