What is the dialect in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best description would probably be African American Vernacular English, which is closely related to Southern American English and Creole dialects. It has been recognized as an official English dialect, and many educators are beginning to address its specific commonalities and rules in teaching English in the classroom.

Angelou’s language, which is largely that of a young girl, is touching in its simplicity; but it is also filled with rich and dazzling images that effectively capture both the joy and suffering of her childhood.She uses a variety of techniques to characterize and bring to life her past. Her memoirs are recorded in a naturalistic manner using anecdotes, dialectical variations, Biblical allusions, and other literary styles. Her language is appealing not only because of its attention to detail but also because of the use of comic relief.

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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