Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 10:45:15 -0400

From: "H. Stephen Straight (Binghamton University/SUNY)"


Subject: Re: oj trial

On Fri, 14 Jul 1995, William A. Kretzschmar, Jr. wrote:

Sali Mufwene's objection to the putative greater competence of native

speakers to discriminate dialects is well taken. There is nothing to

prevent anybody, native speaker or not, from learning about different

dialects in a language. I would still say that, on average, someone who

has missed out on growing up in a place is much more likely to not to

command the kind of acculturation to that place that is necessary to

discriminate dialects accurately. Studies, e.g. by Jack Chambers in

*Language* and Payne in the Penn group, suggest that even people who move

to a new place at a young age do not fully command the linguistic variants

of the place as the natives do; it is the second generation before such

full acculturation takes place. The studies are of production, but I bet

perception would not be far different. ...

I bet not. Indeed, I know many people who are far better than I am at

recognizing dialects or accents but who are far poorer than I am at

mimicking them when they hear them. Granted, productive "command" of

these variants requires more than mimicking ability, but my point is that

good recognizers need have no comparable production facility.

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H Stephen STRAIGHT, Assoc Prof of Anthro & of Ling, Binghamton Univ (SUNY)

Director: Grad Studies in Anthro, Prog in Ling, and Lgs Across the Curric

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