An Analysis of Black English Used In “The Color Purple” Novel by Alice Walker


  • Zahrina Amelia Program Studi Sastra Inggris, Fakultas Ilmu Budaya, Universitas Halu Oleo
  • Fina Amalia Masri


Sociolinguistic, Black English, Syntactic Feature, The Color Purple


Black English is a variety of English spoken by many African Americans. Most people consider that Black English as a badly spoken version of Standard English. Therefore, this is the reason why the syntactic feature of Black English important to analyze. The knowledge about the syntactic feature of Black English may results that people will understand and recognize Black English. This research is aimed at describing the syntactic feature of Black English that Alice Walker used in her novel and to find the most dominant feature which occurs in the novel. This research used the syntactic analysis based on Lisa J. Green’s perspective. Then, the data were analyzed using the descriptive qualitative method. The data were collected by downloading, reading, classifying, and coding the data then analyzed by presenting the collected data, describing the use of the syntactic feature, and making a conclusion. The results of this research are the researcher
found 10 syntactic features of Black English used in The Color Purple novel, they are; multiple negations, negative inversion, zero auxiliary, lack of subject-verb agreement, ain’t as negated auxiliary, lack of auxiliary in wh-question and yes-no question, existential it, aspectual be and lack of genetive-‘s.


Brasch, Walter M. 1981. Black English and the Mass Media. United States: University of Massachusetts Press.

Chomsky, Noam. 2002. Syntactic Structure. 2nd ed, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Fasold, Ralph & Jeff Connor-Linton. 2006. An Introduction to Language and Linguistic. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fought, Carmen 2006. Language and Ethnicity. 1st ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Green, Lisa J. 2002. African American English. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Idovi, Ivan. 2015. A Syntactic Analysis of Black English Used in the Movie Get Rich or Die Tryin. Thesis. University of Malang.

Iyeiri, Yoko. 2005. Aspect of English Negation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Julaeha. 2010. A Grammatical Analysis of African American Vernacular English in Precious Movie. Thesis. State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah.

Maclagan, Margareth. 2005. “Regional and Social Variation”. Clinical Sociolinguistic. ed. Martin J. Ball. USA: Blackwell Publishing.

Paakkinen, Tomi. 2013. A Study of African American Vernacular English in Three Novels and Colloquial Finnish in their Translations – The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, A Time to Kill and Push.Thesis. University of Turku.

Pullum, G. K. 1999. African American Vernacular English is not Standard English with mistakes in The Workings of Language: From Prescriptions to Perspectives. 1st ed. London: Paeger Publishers.

Rickford, John R. and Russell John Rickford 2000. Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Sládková, Petra. 2013. Non-Standard English Varieties in Literary Translation: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Thesis. Masaryk University.

Smitherman, Geneva. 1996 African-American English: From The Hood to the Amen Corner. The Board of Regents, University of Minnesota

Walker, Alice. 1982. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Wardaugh, Ronald. 2006. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 5th ed. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Inc.

Wolfram, Walt (2004b). “Urban African American Vernacular English: morphology and syntax”. In B. Kortmann, K. Burridge, R. Mesthrie, E. W. Schneider and C. Upton (Ed.), A handbook of varieties of English: A multimedia reference tool.

Yule, George. 2006. The Study of Language. 3rd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.




How to Cite

Amelia, Zahrina, and Fina Amalia Masri. 2022. “An Analysis of Black English Used In ‘The Color Purple’ Novel by Alice Walker”. ELITE: Journal of English Language and Literature 3 (1):26-34.



Vol. 3 No. 1 June 2018

Most read articles by the same author(s)