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“It fascinates me (MacNeil) that axe, meaning “ask,” so common in black American English, is standard in Chaucer in all forms—axe, axen, axed: “and axed him if Troilus were there.”

“Ernest Hemingway believed that American literature did not really begin until Mark Twain, who outraged critics by reproducing the vernacular of characters like Huck Finn.”

(MacNeil [2009]: 67)

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