How do children acquire African American English? How do they develop the specific language patterns of their communities? Drawing on spontaneous speech samples and data from structured elicitation tasks, this book explains the developmental trends in the children's language. It examines topics such as the development of tense/aspect marking, negation and question formation, and addresses the link between intonational patterns and meaning. Lisa Green shows the impact that community input has on children's development of variation in the production of certain constructions such as possessive -s, third person singular verbal -s, and forms of copula and auxiliary be. She discusses the implications that the linguistic description has for practical applications, such as developing instructional materials for children in the early stages of their education.