Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 14:04:56 -0600 From: "Salikoko S. Mufwene" Subject: Re: vernacular Ellen Johnson writes: > And while I'm at it, is everyone here comfortable with the claim that > the vernacular shows less internal variation than more formal/middle > class varieties? > I had to read this question twice, not because it is poorly worded but because I did not find it consistent with my gut feeling. I expected varieties close to the standard to show less variation, perhaps because I expect them to less tolerant of alternatives that are precluded by the standard norm. I also think that part of my hesitation in reading the question is the juxtaposition of "formal" and "middle". Are middle-class varieties necessarily "formal"? Then I would like to be less charitable now and ask whether there are no middle and upper class vernaculars. Perhaps part of my training in a non-anglophone tradition is bearing on my interpretation of "vernacular". For me, it is independent of class and level-of-education considerations. A person's vernacular is what they use for day-to-day communication, i.e., their primary means of communication. As I understand, the term, etymologically it means 'domestic variety'.--Just checked the meanings provided by Random House. The explanations for adjectival and nominal uses do not seem so consistent with each other. Sali. ******************************************************* Salikoko S. Mufwene s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] University of Chicago 773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924 Department of Linguistics 1010 East 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637 *******************************************************