Chapter 5: African American English and the communities it influences

5.1 “Sorry to Bother You”-the perception of code-switching among African American Males

Joseph Bukowski

Date of Award 5-2019

Culminating Project Type Thesis

Degree Name English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.

Department English
College College of Liberal Arts
First Advisor James Robinson Second Advisor Michael Schwartz Third Advisor Christopher Lehman
Creative Commons License
Keywords and Subject Headings

codeswitching, language, standard english, black language


This paper explores the African American male perception of codeswitching between African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and Standard American English (SAE) within varying social, academic, and professional environments. This research is collected through interviews with 10 subjects from varying socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, while attempting to better understand how these perceptions were potentially created and reinforced through social and academic experience; while also attempting connection between these experiences and subject’s awareness of the presence of their own codeswitching as adults. This paper classifies subjects into two distinct groups based on socioeconomic and academic upbringing, identifying subjects from dominant culture (Tatum, 2017) as “Homogenous” and those from more ethnically diverse backgrounds as “Diverse” to more easily identify different experiences which could be associated to differentiated upbringings.