This course deals with African American Vernacular English, the distinctive varieties of English used primarily by and among speakers of African background in North America. We will investigate the present-day linguistic features of AAVE, as well as the ways in which the variety is expressively employed in black speech communities. We will also spend some time exploring the history of AAVE, its source in African languages, as well as the controversial question of its possible creole ancestry. These issues will be discussed in the light of educational and applied concerns, such as teachers’ expectations and students' progress, linguistic profiling and discrimination of AAVE speakers.