Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject American Studies - Linguistics, grade: 1.0, University of Duisburg-Essen, course: Language and Interaction, 6 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The majority of the US-citizens of African ancestry speak a characteristic variety of English that has been referred to by several names. It has variously been called Non-Standard Negro English, Negro Dialect, Black English Vernacular, Black English, African American English, African American Vernacular English, Ebonics, etc. In this paper, I will use the term African American Vernacular English, abbreviated AAVE, because it is the term most current among linguists today. The term "vernacular" refers to the everyday language spoken by a speech community, often a non-standard variety. No other variety inside the United States has been studied as much as AAVE. During the last fourty years, many works have been released concerning this topic. This paper is an overview of AAVE. It starts with the historical backgrounds of the variety by discussing the major theories concerning its origin. The main part of this paper deals with AAVE's linguistic features in comparison to Standard American English. The features are subdivided into the sub-chapters phonology, grammar and vocabulary. A summary forms the final chapter of this paper.