Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 12:41:23 CST From: salikoko mufwene Subject: Re: Recent Black English In Message Sat, 19 Nov 1994 00:19:03 -0800, Audrey Wright writes: >This is entirely possible. Mainly because most information on AAL/BE >refers to the'traditional' or most pure form of its usage. Over time, a >lot of African Americans are standardinzing the language. Then too, >there are some indications that the language is taking a different >direction by some users. The language/dialect is not a monolith. There >are many variations, both regional and social. I buy the position that AAVE is not monolithic. I think that it has never been monolithic. A close examination of the texts published by Walter Brasch (1981, BLACK ENGLISH IN THE MASS MEDIA) suggests this conclusion. I would then be more cautious in suggesting change without supportive diachronic evidence. What would be the motivation for speakers to standardize their vernacular? This is not to deny that people code-switch to a standard variety in some contexts, by all means not all of them nor equally successfully. Nor do I want to deny change (not any faster than in other varieties of English), but change must be proved and not be used as a solution of convenience. You did not say this of course, but this explanation has been floating around. 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