Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 17:31:11 -0400

From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ATLAS.UGA.EDU

Subject: Re: oj trial

On Thu, 13 Jul 1995, Alan S. Kaye wrote:

RE: OJ Trial

Folks, come on, let's get serious. I am not an expert in AAVE; however,

I would like to see the "expert" identify correctly out of 100 tape recordings

of, say, 100 different people born and raised in a southern state, e.g.,

chosen at random, and identify blacks from non-blacks. My guess is that

this is next to impossible. Then, too, we can have whites who sound black

(phoneticians, e.g.) and blacks who sound white. So where does it all end,

and what is the point of such non-scientific judgements. So I must say

that Johnny Cochran's point seems to me to be a good one.

Alan Kaye


Linguistics, CSU, Fullerton

No, Cochran's point is not good. Many (but not all) African American

speakers all over the country have a speech type that resembles Southern

plantation speech, including loss of post vocalic -r, cluster reduction,

and many other features that lay people as well as linguists can hear and

recognize (if not define precisely as phonological features). Most

non-African-Americans in Southern California do not have that kind of

speech. If the witness were to have heard somebody with such a Southern

speech type, the most likely case in Southern California is that it might

have been an African American. Without recordings and instrumental

analysis it is pretty dicey to identify voices, but the question leads to

the kind of probabilistic judgment also invited by, say, the fiber

evidence. As it happens, the witness is a non-native-speaker of American

English, and so not able to make any such judgment in any case.

Out of my oj-stupor, I appear to have some recall after all.

Regards, Bill


Bill Kretzschmar Phone: 706-542-2246

Dept. of English (Park 317) FAX: 706-542-2181

University of Georgia Internet: billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Athens, GA 30602-6205 Atlas Web Page: