British (and American) Ebonics

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Thu May 9 21:24:07 UTC 2002

At 12:00 PM 5/9/02 -0400, you wrote:
>On Thu, 9 May 2002 10:05:17 -0400 Charles Wells <charles at FREUDE.COM>
> > I don't agree about Americans always recognizing black speakers.
>Nor do I. And I did not say that.

But the "success rate" for recognizing Black English (as opposed to Black
people) is generally very high, as John Baugh has shown recently.  That is,
if an African American USES the variety called Black English (or AAE), it
has fairly distinctive characteristics (mainly of accent but also in
grammar) that are generally known.  Clearly not all Oberlin students, or
people anywhere, use AAE.  One of you (Wells?) commented on Southern
English features in Blacks at Oberlin; I would guess Coretta Scott King
exhibited some of these when she was at Oberlin, as did her husband when he
was at BU.

An interview with Baugh on "20/20" a couple of months ago is well worth
getting, if it's still available; he plays voices and has his students (and
us) guess the ethnic identity of the speakers.  I've used it in my classes
to good effect.

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

More information about the Ads-l mailing list