Learn more about AAL!

This page, curated by the ORAAL team, includes links to videos, podcasts, and other websites that discuss different aspects of AAL that we think are excellent resources. We first present several videos, including General Information, Perception of AAL, clips from the documentary Talking Black in America, Education, Variation in AAL, Code Switching, and we highlight lectures by linguists on AAL!

As always, if you have any suggestions or recommendations for additions, please contact us at OnlineResourcesAAL@gmail.com!


General Information about AAL

We start by highlighting some videos that are nice introductions to the study of AAL.

Video by popular YouTube channel Langfocus.

This gives a general introduction to some features of AAL.



In this section, we highlight two videos where speakers talk about their language as expressions of cultural identity.

Professor Mary Zeigler of Georgia University talks
about the influence that African American's have
had on the development of American English. Her
students discuss the importance of their own
language as an expressionof their cultural identity.

Several African Americans discuss their views
on the perception of their language skills and
African American English.


Talking Black in America

The Language and Life Project produced documentary, Talking Black in America, came out in 2017. Here we provide links to several clips from the documentary, as well as the trailer for the forthcoming Signing Black in America, about Black American Sign Language use in African American communities.

African American Language - Skills
African American Language - Education
African American Language - Code-Switching
What is Black American Sign Language?
The History of Black Deaf Schools

Check the LLP's YouTube Channel for even more videos!

Education and Controversies

This video, What American got wrong about Ebonics?
presents a great summary of the Oakland Ebonics
Controversy, and why American got it wrong. There
is an accompany
article via the Huffington Post,
available here.

Video from the documentary, Do You Speak American?
about the Ann Arbor School Board. Also check out
"AAE (or Ebonics) in the Classroom."


In addition to the videos above, we really like two videos produced by KARE 11 in Minneapolis about African American Vernacular English in the classroom: Lessons from Lucy Laney: African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and Lucy Laney Elementary: African American Vernacular English. Both videos were part of KARE 11's year long documentary about Lucy Laney Elementary School.

Check out this video, Oakland Unified School District, compiled by Anthony Garcia, featuring footage from the 90s, including interviews with Toni Cook of the Oakland School Board, as well as sociolinguist Fay Vaughn Cooke.

Variation in AAL

In this section, we present a couple videos that highlight different aspects of variation in AAL. The first video, produced by the Language and Life Project, highlights variation in North Carolina, and the second is a video produced by MTV, asking the question, Why do people say 'ax' instead of 'ask'?

AAE Voices of NC
Why do people say 'ax' instead of 'ask'?

Code Switching/Style Shifting

The two videos presented here are both Ted(x) Talks. For more about Style Shifting, see our AAL Variation page!

Jamila Lyiscott, an educator and spoken word artist, discusses
the languages she useswith her friends, parents and in the

Black American Sign Language

For more information on Black ASL, please visit Dr. Joseph Hill's Resource page: https://sites.google.com/view/josephchill/resources.

Dr. Joseph Hill gives a general introduction to Black American Sign Language.


Many lectures are available on YouTube. We highlight two, Dr. Lisa Green, presenting "African American English Through The Years" and Dr. April Baker-Bell's "We Been Knowin': Toward an Antiracist Language & Literacy Education."

Dr. Lisa Green, professor of linguistics at University of
Massachusetts - Amherst and director of the Center

for the Study of African American Language, presents
a lecture discussing the acquisition of African
American English in children.

Dr. April Baker-Bell is an Assistant Professor
of Language, Literacy, and English Education
at Michigan State University.
An emerging
national and international leader in conversations
on Black Language, her research interrogates
the intersections of sociolinguistics, anti-black

racism, and anti-racist pedagogies.

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Podcasts and Radio

Podcasts and radio programs can be a great introduction to different kinds of academic topics, and can be great tools to use in the classroom setting. Below, we list several linguistically relevant podcasts, with some episode recommendations that focus on topics related to AAL.

The Black Language Podcast - A new podcast hosted by Anansa Benbow, "dedicated to talking about Black people and our languages, and the beauty, rawness, and complicatedness of our various realities.

Code Switch - Code Switch, a NPR podcast hosted by a team of journalists, including Gene Demby, Shereen Marisol Meraji, and Karen Grigsby Bates, discuss the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture. Several of their episodes touch on language in the African American community directly or indirectly, including clips such as "Why Chaucer Said 'Ax' instead of 'Ask' and why some still do", "Challenging the whiteness of public radio", and articles like "The Journey from 'Colored' to 'Minorities' to 'People Of Color'".

Lingthusiasm - Popular linguistics podcast hosted by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. A wide range of topics are covered from episode to episode, but include things like etymologies, sign languages, kinship terms, and more. They also provide useful information about incorporating their podcasts in the classroom context (Using Lingthusiasm in the classroom). Episode 13, "What does it mean to sound Black? Intonation and Identity" features Dr. Nicole Holliday.

Linguizzle - Dr. Hiram Smith, Assistant Professor of Spanish at Bucknell University, started a podcast in May 2020. Dr. Smith engages in conversations which cover "every topic from the streets to the Ivory tower, gang signs to sign language, the n-word to the most cutting edge linguistic research."

Spectacular Vernacular - Beginning in August 2021, University of Pennsylvania linguist Nicole Holliday and Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer discuss the ways language is changing, talk to scholars and writers, and set and solve word puzzles. A wide range of topics are covered.

Vocal Fries - Vocal Fries is a podcast about linguistic discrimination. In February 2019, hosts Dr. Megan Figueroa and Dr. Carrie Gillon talked to Dr. Nicole Holliday on "Beyoncé, Hoodies and Obama Linguistics", and Kelly Wright, a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, about housing discrimination via dialect discrimination on "On the Basis of Voice". In March 2020, Dr. Sharese King of the University of Chicago, discussed her research on Rachel Jeantel and the justice system during the George Zimmerman trial. In April 2020, Kendra Calhoun, a Ph.D. student at UCSB, discussed anti-hegemonic racial humor on Vine.

A Way with Words - A public radio program about language examined through history, culture and family.

Talk the Talk - The Talk the Talk podcast covers a wide range of topics, including a recent episode featuring sociolinguist Dr. Jessi Grieser talking about AAL in Washington DC!

Other Websites and Materials

Talking Black in America Educational Resources - Talking Black in America producers have put together several discussion guides for educators and the public to discuss key points of the documentary. The new documentary Signing Black in America has a similar discussion guide.

Word. The Online Journal on African American English - Word is a blog created in 2009 by Niki Hossack, a linguistics student at New York University, and includes posts primarily by Dr. Renée Blake and several graduate students between 2009 and 2016.


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