Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1993 20:47:00 EST From: "Dennis.Preston" <22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.BITNET> Subject: Re: modren metathesis Sali- I beleive you are exactly right in noticing that many variationaist publications on AAVE (or other varieties for that matter) seem to assume a monolithic 'base' grammar. I suspect, however, that that is not the assumption which most of the authors would hold. In most cases, a 'most acrolectal' and 'most basilectal' form is assumed, but I think that that methodological ploy does not carry with it the idea that there are any (nondynamic) speakers of those forms. Your second question is more interesting to me, and I think it is directly realted to the question which has been engaging us (although in different guise) on this network for some time now. If the study of AAVE is within the framework of pidgin/creole studies, does that make it a study of coordinated cognitive meantal structures or of compounded ones. I still believe this is a central question to variationist studies, not just to the characterization of language switching concerns as we have been discussing here lately. I personally suspect that it will be very difficult indeed to tell when one is situationally alternating within one's own variety or between varities (not to mention wh en one might be metaphorically switching within or between). I agree with you, however, that we all too often appear to assume the monolithicity (??? - don't trust me; remember I'm not a native speaker) of such varieties as AAVE. In the social defense of such assumptions, however, note that the assumption is just as often made about the so-called standard as well (an assumption i have very often heard creolists make, particularly when they contrast such interesting variable aspects of pidgin/creole systems as, say, tense/aspect, with the 'invariant' standard system. Of course, we know very little about the status of the standard tense/aspect system because the assumption of its invariance is even more insidiously assumed. Aren't you ashamed of my having to do all this on Christmas Eve? Happy Holidays! Dennis Preston