Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 15:34:51 -0500 From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." Subject: Re: The ADS crystal ball On Wed, 7 Dec 1994, salikoko mufwene wrote: > In Message Tue, 6 Dec 1994 21:40:58 -0500 . . . > 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. > This is a great question, but I'm not sure how well anybody *could* answer it. After the first wave of settlement, supposedly 90% British with some admixture of Germans and French (particularly), there were successive waves of new settlers depending on political and agricultural conditions (AKA disasters) in various places. While there are some obvious locations where early contact might be studied (Dutch New York, Pennsylvania German, Louisiana Acadian French), it seems far more difficult to deal with the question for the broad reach of American regions. For example, how might contact phenomena have affected English in Michigan in the mid 19th century, when large numbers of German immigrants came in and spoke English by the second generation? Karl Jaberg (1936) raises a similar question about the German of Eastern Germany, including Berlin; he calls it a "colonised" area, which he expects to have affects on the language there, principally more generalized and less dialectal (in the sense of dialects withing boundaries) language. Perhaps John Algeo's forthcoming volume on American English in the Cambridge HEL will give some ideas. Regards, Bill ****************************************************************************** Bill Kretzschmar Phone: 706-542-2246 Dept. of English FAX: 706-542-2181 University of Georgia Internet: billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Athens, GA 30602-6205 Bitnet: wakjengl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uga