Date: Tue, 7 Mar 1995 17:16:43 CST From: salikoko mufwene Subject: Re: VBE and 60 Minutes In Message Tue, 7 Mar 1995 14:05:43 -0500, Mark S Kuhn writes: >Norma LaMoyne (sic?), an educator, claims that the simplification of >consonant clusters such as "tests" to "tes" by VBE speakers is a direct >influence of a Nigerian tribal language. I was startled by the claim, mostly by the assurance projected by the author of the claim. It is true that sevral African languages lack word-final consonant clusters; and those that allow word-final closed syllables allow typically (some) nasals and liquids (some Africanist should double-check this claim!). It is also likely that several of these languages would have favored cluster simplification in the development of AAVE and English creoles. However, I doubt that this was the exclusive factor in this development (which I do not consider categorical anyway). The claim on the 60-Minutes segment amused me more because of the specific reference to Nigeria. This is not without antecedent, however. You may want to check the chapters by Charles DeBose and Nicholas Faraclas and by Selase Williams in AFRICANISMS IN AFRO-AMERICAN LANGUAGE VARIETIES, ed. by Salikoko Mufwene (1993), U. of Georgia Press. I hope this short intervention helps. Sali. Salikoko S. Mufwene University of Chicago Dept. of Linguistics 1010 East 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637 s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] 312-702-8531; fax: 312-702-9861