Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 00:57:41 -0600 From: "Donald M. Lance" Subject: Re: "Hit" (was Appalacian [sic] languages) Terry Irons asks: >My question is, does the metathetical pronunciation of "ask" >characteristic of AAVE preserve an earlier form, or does it reflect a >contemporary performance transposition? OE acsian But the existence of an older form doesn't negate the possibility of some sort of "optimal" form for certain dialects (if I'm not stretching the term 'optimality'). Lots of Southern whites say 'ax' too, but this fact doesn't totally rule out the possibility of a "metathesized" form developing on its own in AAVE's ancestral lects. The fact that 'ax' shows up in 19th century dialect marking of AAVE indicates that it isn't a contemporary development, though there may be contemporary forces working on preservation of the form.