Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 18:38:34 -0600 From: Salikoko Mufwene Subject: Re: oj trial Alan: Stereotypes are not fool-proof. We use them cognitively because they are helpful. We can of course misuse them and make them dangerous. And this is perhaps where Cochran's objection to "sounding black" becomes relevant. As I said before, African Americans use the phrase, even scholars. I am personally accustomed to the comment that I sound African. These are statements based on stereotypes which some honest people find useful. I guess I'd agree with you if you said that linguists should step down humbly from the pedestal and stop pretending that only they can determine which variety is AAVE and which one is not. That authority, if infallible, rests only on the people who share the code and who may operate, for identification purpuses, on features which may be different from those linguists have cherished in their discussions, as useful as they are. I may sound patronizing now, but I just did not see the point in discreting the witness's obvervation simply because he is not a linguist. Now, In message Thu, 13 Jul 1995 17:31:11 -0400, "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." writes: > 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. I cannot resist taking exception with this statement. What if I took the liberty of substituting "AAVE" for "American English" in your statement, would I be wrong? Does inablility to replicate the native speaker entail inability to tell the difference? Actually, aren't there incompetent native speakers (with regard to the judgment that concerns us here)? Why is the native speaker presumed error-free? Where does variation fit in all this by the way? Sali.