Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 15:01:06 -0600
From: "Timothy C. Frazer" mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU
Subject: Re: The ADS crystal ball
On Wed, 7 Dec 1994, salikoko mufwene wrote:
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.
I'm sure there are some varieties within Inalnd Northern which may be the
result of contact. Many of the features that Mike Linn finds in the
Duluth area are obviously the result of a large original population
which was largely non-English speaking. Among these are the familar
th -- /d/, /t/, various consonant cluster reductions, ellipses like
"Do you wanna go Detroit?" (I don't think all the features Mike mentions
are confined to the Iron Range). I suspect that throughout Minnesota and
maybe parts of Wisconsin, there's some contact effect on vowels (less
diphthonging in /o/, for example), and on intonation patterns.
Maybe the whole "Northern Cities Vowel Shift" is due to language contact.
(But why did Emerson find it in Ithaca in 1890?).
Of course, JL Dillard does a lot of that, although as I recall his books
like "All American English" seem pretty much restricted to lexicon. But
he doesn't seem to believe in dialects.