Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 20:05:09 -0400 From: TERRY IRONS Subject: Re: oj trial On Mon, 17 Jul 1995, Ditra Henry wrote: > Is Black English Another Language? > > > > Ditra > I cannot, nor would I dare, claim expertise in Black English. For what I have observed and have read cannot get at competence. Yet what I have observed leads me to the conclusion that Black English is a distinct language, although (perhaps influenced by the ideas of John Rickford and Michael Montgomery) I once fancifully termed it in a public lecture to be New World Afro-Hibernian English. Certainly, black english or aave or whatever shares vocabulary with american english. But vocabulary are only signs, and language as a computational capacity and system of mental representations is much more than signs and vocabulary. Within the principles and parameters framework (which minimalist theory threatens to economize), a CP rewrites as a spec C' which rewrites as a C IP, with IP becoming the functional category governing VP and so on down the line until we get to some real words. At a high level, IP, or infl, represents various tense-modal-aspect features of a language. In my lecture, drawing upon various sources, including Baugh, I tried to show that at the IP level the parameters for TMA (tense/modal/aspect) are set differently for BE than for AE. This parametric difference leads to the conclusion that BE is not simply a variety of AE but is a distinct language competence. This conclusion is supported by understandings of be/been/done constructions provided by African Americans that are not accessible by honkies. The Great White American Un-PC Honkie, Terry (*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*) Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Voice Mail: (606) 783-5164 Snail Mail: UPO 604 Morehead, KY 40351 (*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)=(*)