Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 09:20:56 -0400 From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." Subject: Re: oj trial 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. And of course my earlier point was probabilistic---we are dealing with likelihood, more and less, not rationalist absolutes---and I think that probability is also the issue in Kaye's comments. If I had been more cautious, I would have said that the OJ witness who is obviously not a native speaker of American English (from his own accent) would be much less likely to make accurate observations about American English dialects than a native speaker of American English, though of course such a witness *might* make accurate observations and native speakers *might well* make inaccurate ones. As Einstein says, it's all relative (just as murder is very often by relatives, a family matter). 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: