Date: Wed, 7 Dec 1994 11:57:36 CST


Subject: Re: The ADS crystal ball

In Message Tue, 6 Dec 1994 21:40:58 -0500, AAllan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] writes:

What could such topics be? Well, we might consider other places, e.g.

Heartland English or New York City speech; we might revisit the Linguistic

Atlas of New England; we might ponder slang with Jonathan Lighter; wonder

about innovation in AAVE; review the neologisms of the 20th century. Pick

keynote speakers and organize panels early; seek grants; perhaps publish


I have been wondering why very few American dialectologists have been

engaged by conjectures on the development of AAVE by offering reflections on

the genesis of other varieties of American English. By now it seems more

and more obvious that the cluster of varieties called American English have

resulted from language contact. While there have been several isolated

replies to the scholarship on the genesis of AAVE, replies which typically

claim the British origin of several features, I am surprised that no

serious attempt has been made to account for the transmission of these

features and their reorganization (not necessarily with features from the

same dialectal source in the British Isles) into American English.

Could a special session/conference be organized just in order to encourage

research in this direction? Just an idea not so well thought out that I

want to submit for consideration, since new ideas are solicited.


Salikoko S. Mufwene

University of Chicago

Dept. of Linguistics

1010 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637


312-702-8531; fax: 312-702-9861