Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 18:31:53 -0500


Subject: Re: Gullah Bible


thanks for your comments relating the (recent?) publishing of

bible translations into vernacular and esp. pidgin/creole languages BY

native speakers of them, for their own ends. I hadn't thought of them

in that light (though I have heard of "postcolonial lx" before).

However, I'm not sure the "lx" part of the label applies here.

Apart from the Gullah Bible, which Sali comments seems to be pretty

authentic, one of the striking things about the Jamaican and what I've

heard about the Black Bible Chronicles is how they differ from the

vernacular speech that speakers speak and linguists know. I get the

feeling that even though these folks are in some sense validating the

variety by publishing important stuff in it, they're still very

reluctant to see it as linguists do, and very prone to dress it up or

Anglicize/standardize it-- while celebrating its "difference"!

This ambivalence is a very familiar, and very understandable,

attitude in a post-colonial society, but it also reveals the very

same confusion of social values with linguistic structure, the

acceptance of a non-arbitrary (even "natural") relationship between

them, that members of dominant groups show-- and which is perhaps

the main target of sociolinguistics. So though the translators of

these efforts are doing something good, and progressive, I think

there's still an essential point they're missing, which only linguists

seem to be teaching.