Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 10:34:34 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: basketball terms


I doubt the player-origin of this "deletion." In fact, I suspect it is not

the morphologically and/or phonologically motivated deletion of possessive

{s} at all but a sports-announcer short-form for something like "the ball

belongs to Duke or "Duke has the ball" (although I usually prefer to see

Louisville have it).

I don't have Ferguson's SAT (Sports Announcer Talk) article (fron Language

in Society, I think) in front of me, but he mentions a number of these

processes there; this might be among them.

DInIs (jump-shot) Preston

Another basketball usage that comes to me is the null-possessive, as in

"Duke ball," or "Chicago ball," when the standard is "Duke's ball" or

"Chicago's ball." I've heard this from basketball announcers who are

otherwise speakers of "standard", but I'd guess that they've picked it up

from the players. It seems to be a matter of s- deletion, which is common

in AAVE.

Any thoughts on this.


Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)353-0740

Fax: (517)432-2736