The LVC Lab develops public resources and tools for improving research on and education about African American Language (AAL). In January 2018, we launched two related resources that are the products of several years of work funded by NSF grant BCS-1358724.
A large component of this project is the Online Resources of African American Language (ORAAL) website. The ORAAL website seeks to have an engaging, publicly-oriented interface designed to appeal to public users (such as K-12 students, families, and other non-linguists) in addition to researchers, with supporting contextual and educational information about AAL. There has been an information gap over the last forty years between academics and the general public, such that many of the myths with respect to AAL persist in the public domain to this day. The ORAAL website aims to help to dispel many of these myths by acting as a clearing-house for primary data, educational materials, and best-practices for teaching and learning about language variation in general and the systematic nature and sociohistorical context of African American Language in particular.
The second component of this project, the Corpus of Regional African American Language (CORAAL), seeks to promote the wider availability of primary AAL data, through the creation and promotion of the first public corpus of AAL data. In January 2018, we released the first version of CORAAL, which centers on a core component comprised of both legacy (Fasold 1972) and current sociolinguistic interview recordings of African Americans born and raised in Washington DC of diverse ages, several social class backgrounds, and gender. In addition to this core component in Washington DC, future versions will include sociolinguistic interviews from several other locales around the U.S. (e.g. Georgia, New York, North Carolina) to add regional diversity to the core component. All data in CORAAL are orthographically transcribed in a time-aligned format and available in several common formats. Our development of the main corpus currently focuses on providing accurate time-aligned transcription for the speech, but we are also working on a version with additional linguistic annotation, including part-of-speech tags and syntactic parsing (see Tortora, Santorini, & Blanchette, in progress; http://csivc.csi.cuny.edu/aapcappe/).
Currently, we are transcribing recordings from Washington DC, recorded by Minnie Quartey at Georgetown University, and Rochester, NY by Sharese King as part of her dissertation research. Additionally, we are identifying other sites to include in the corpus, hoping to expand representation of AAL from a diverse set of regional locations. If you would like to help in this endeavor (and have requisite permissions), please feel free to contact the CORAAL project by email to corpusofregionalAAL@gmail.com or by Twitter @CorpusAAL.