Published on September 21, 2010 by Aquarius
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Two men and a woman signing.
Several languages have developed on American soil, including creoles and sign languages.
African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English (AAVE), also known as Ebonics, is a variety of English spoken by many African Americans, in both rural and urban areas. Not all African Americans speak AAVE and many European Americans do. Indeed, it is generally accepted that Southern American English is part of the same continuum as AAVE.
There is considerable debate among non-linguists as to whether the word “dialect” is appropriate to describe it. However, there is general agreement among linguists and many African Americans that AAVE is part of a historical continuum between creoles such as Gullah and the language brought by English colonists.
Some educators view AAVE as exerting a negative influence on the learning of Proper and Standard English, as numerous AAVE rules differ from the rules of Standard English. Other educators, however, propose that Standard English should be taught as a “second dialect” in areas where AAVE is a strong part of local tradition.
Chinuk Wawa or Chinook Jargon
Chinuk Wawa (or Chinook Jargon) is a Creole language of 700-800 words of French, English, Cree and other Native origins. It is the old trade language of the Pacific Northwest. It was used extensively among both European and Native peoples of the old Oregon Territory, even used in place of English at home for many families. It is estimated that around 250,000 people spoke it at its peak and it was last used extensively in Seattle. The language never quite died with ‘Cascadian’ enthusiasts attempting to promote its usage as a street language throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Gullah, an English-African creole language spoken on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, retains strong influences of West African languages. The language is sometimes referred to as “Geechee”.
Hawaiian Pidgin, more accurately known as Hawaiian Creoles, is commonly used by locals and is considered an unofficial language of the state. This not to be confused with Hawaiian English which is standard American English with Hawaiian words.
Outer Banks languages
In the islands of the Outer Banks off North Carolina, several unique English dialects have developed. This is evident on Harkers Island and Ocracoke Island.
Pennsylvania Dutch is a language spoken mainly in Pennsylvania. It evolved from the German dialect brought over to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch people (the Amish) before 1800. It is now mostly mutually unintelligible from Standard German.
Texas Silesian (Silesian: teksasko gwara) is a language used by Texas Silesians in American settlements from 1852 to the present.
Another dialectal isolate is Tangier Island, Virginia located in the Chesapeake bay. The dialect is partially build on Old Colonial English and the Middle-Atlantic American dialect, but contained some words from the Celtic-based Cornish language of Cornwall, England.
A mixture of the Spanish and American English languages spoken by many Hispanics in urban areas and predominantly Latino communities. See also Chicano English and New Mexican Spanish for Mexican-American dialects of the Southwest