Date: Sat, 5 Feb 1994 07:47:06 -0600


Subject: Re: AAVE variation and ADS in Toronto

On Fri, 31 Dec 1993, John Baugh wrote:

Most of my African American informants from across the U.S. make

the greatest ethnolinguistic distinction between "urban" and "rural"

black speech. Guy Bailey did some intersting work between College

Station and Houston that looked at this "rural" vs. "urban"

contrast. Nearly all of my informants lived in cities, but they too

had strong stereotypes regarding "country talk" which was often

equated with black folk speech in the South.

I'm teaching Richard Wright's NATIVE SON. One character in that novel,

an elderly preacher clearly cast as an Uncle Tom type, speaks in a "dialect"

with /ai/ flattening = "ah", /r/ loss in your as "yo." Also /r/ loss in

Lord as "Lawd." None of theother African American American characters

have these features, although there is copula deletion and an occasional

"done" aspect. I thought my Af. Am. students would identify the preacher

as "country" but when I asked there was a long silence and then one

(these kids are from the Chicago area) volunteered "Southern."

I wonder if others are aware of stereotyped features in the African.

American speech community.

By the way, later this semester we're doing "Huck" and "Their Eyes were

watching God"; both use literary dialect in ways I think present

interesting problems. We'll see what happens.

Tim Frazer