Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1998 17:27:28 -0400
From: Beverly Flanigan
Subject: Re: "You the man"

Larry may be on the right track (though I'm not entirely convinced) with
Dave Letterman, who likes to affect his Hoosier roots from time to time:
"Or as they say in Indiana, 'spayshul'; so-and-so "needs fixed"; and even
positive 'anymore', which totally confused the audience once (I can't
recall the sentence, but the lack of a negative threw the hearers off).
And of course he uses 'ain't' regularly, a la covert prestige.

At 03:54 PM 6/9/98 -0400, you wrote:
>At 3:36 PM -0400 6/9/98, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>>Dave Letterman uses the phrase frequently, usually in a running exchange
>>with Paul Shaffer. I'm never quite sure whether they're using it
>>derisively or mockingly or not....
>>At 03:13 PM 6/9/98 -0400, you wrote:
>>>It's interesting that the broader speech community has adopted "You da
>>>man." Traditionally, AAVE expressions with obvious grammatical "errors"
>>>(such as the absent copula) are not accepted or imitated by
>>>mainstream speakers except in derision. In some instances, they feel
>>>compelled to "correct" it from "You da man" to "You're the man" or "You
>>>are the man."
>>>Margaret Lee
>>>Hampton University
>I don't detect any derision here, but something more like quotation or
>ironic reference to the non-standard dialect, much as there is in the use
>of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" or "It ain't over till the fat lady
>sings" by speakers who don't normally have 'ain't' in their lexical
>repertoire. I'm not sure that there's a whole lot of evidence for the
>claim that 'AAVE expressions with obvious grammatical "errors" (such as the
>absent copula) are not accepted or imitated by mainstream speakers except
>in derision.' In fact, the item I was just alluding in relation to
>"Youdaman", "my bad", is another example of dialect borrowing of the same
>sort; again there's no derision or correction. If anything, given the
>makeup of the borrowing community (hip or hip-wannabe radio and TV
>comedian-hosts, sportscasters, etc.) there may be a case to be made for
>Trudgill-style covert prestige.