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.