Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 13:55:05 -0600


Subject: Re: oj trial

The Houck/Davis paper Terry referred to was not about sounding Hoosier. I

seriously doubt if anyone would claim that he/she could differentiate a

Hoosier from, say, a denizen of Illinois. On the other hand, asking someone if

a speaker "sounds black" could be nasty--as though all African-Americans

somehow sound the same, with no regional and or sociolinguistic features with

differentiate them. I do recall ( I hope correctly) that Roger Shuy's

unpublished Detroit study did include a subjective reaction test which showed

that Detroiters could distinguish white and black speakers, but that's all I


Anecdote isn't evidence, but I havae vivid memories of Raven McDavid's asking

Virginia to make dinner reservations, appointments to look at apartments etc.

because Raven's (white) Greenville, SC dialect was clearly identified by

Chicagoans as marking him as African-American at a time when overt racism

ruled (I'm not as naive about that last statement as it sounded. Just in a

hurry) And Shuy's sample of speakers did not include representatives of the

large lnumber of whites of southern origin who were living in Detroit at the


AAVE dialects might be easier to identify, but the witness was not a linguist

so far as I know.

Y'all take care now, ya hear.