Little Brown Baby

Topics: African American, African American Vernacular English, African-American literature Pages: 4 (1347 words) Published: November 11, 2008
Little Brown Baby
Paul Laurence Dunbar:
Paul Laurence Dunbar is one of the most influential African American poets to gain a nationwide reputation. Dunbar the son of two former slaves; was born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio. His work is truly one of a kind, known for its rich, colorful language, encompassed by the use of dialect, a conversational tune, and a brilliant rhetorical structure. The style of Dunbar’s poetry includes two distinct voices; the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn of the century black community in America. His works include a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels, and short stories. The hardships encountered by members of is race along with the efforts of African Americans to achieve equality in America were often the focus of his writings. African American Vernacular:

African American Vernacular English (AAVE) is the mixture formerly known as Black English Vernacular or Vernacular Black English among sociolinguists, and commonly is called Ebonics. While some features of AAVE are apparently unique to this variety, in its structure it also shows many similarities with other varieties including a number of standard and nonstandard English varieties spoken in the US and the Caribbean. Speakers and writers of this dialect use some distinctive aspects of the phonological, lexical, and grammatical traits associated with this dialect. Many sociolinguists would reserve the term AAVE for varieties which are marked by the occurrence of certain distinctive grammatical features. Dunbar’s usage of African American Vernacular in “Little Brown Baby”: Dunbar wrote his poetry in both Standard English and African American dialect, but it was the dialect poetry that readers and he preferred most. “Little Brown Baby” is one of Dunbar’s dialect poems that shows a variety of African...
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