Non native speaker?

Thu Oct 24 13:56:25 UTC 2002


I think this is a red herring;  I never even thought of fluency,  let alone
mention it in my book-length treatment as an arguing point. "Fluent in a
genre" sounds like a subspecies of  Clupeus harengus.

Last  night NBC Nightly News reported that it had been determined that the
sniper is a "native speaker" of English, probably a Caucasian, with an
accent suspected to be Hispanic. The above judgement seems to have been
based on the sniper's written rather than spoken English. There is a kind of
verba volant (words fly) quality to the spoken evidence. But a recording may
be available.

I am fairly confident the sniper is going to be caught one of these days;
Bush has placed the Federal resources at the disposal of the police. At that
time, linguists should be able to conduct a more thorough evaluation of the
sniper's speech. I think this would simply confirm that he is a native
speaker of his own idiolect. This applies to everyone who speaks English or
any other language for that matter (Chomsky's current position


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Non native speaker?

> Someone (T. M. I guess, since he has done it before, even in a
> book-length treatment) seems to be confusing "native" and "fluent,"
> particularly "fluent in a genre." I am a native speaker of English,
> remarkable disfluent in many genres.
> dInIs
> >I agree with Lesa Dill "it's easy, intentionally or not, to sound
> >illiterate and/or non-native." So what's the use of the native/non-native
> >distinction?
> >
> >Incidentally, I'd like to know what forensic linguists think of specimens
> >(freshman English, of course) such as the following. I did get an expert
> >opinion in 1985. But I would like a second opinion if anyone would care
> >comment, even for fun. The basic syntax seems perfect.
> >
> >"During the Middle Ages everybody was middle
> >aged.... After a revival of infantile commerce slowly creeped into
> >Europe, merchants appeared. They roamed from town to town expo-
> >sing themselves and organized big fairies in the countryside.... Finally
> >Europe caught the Black Death. It was spread from port to port by
> >inflected rats.... Theologically, Luther was into reorientation muta-
> >tion.... Great Brittian, the USA and other European countrys had
> >demicratic leanings. Among the goals of the chartists were universal
> >suferage and an anal parliament.... In 1937 Lenin revolted Russia.
> >Germany was displaced after WWL... War screeched to an end when a
> >nukuleer explosion was dropped on Heroshima. The last stage is us."
> >(Britannica 1984 Book of the Year)
> >
> >T. M. Paikeday
> >
> >
> >
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "Lesa Dill" <lesa.dill at WKU.EDU>
> >Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 2:23 PM
> >Subject: Re: Non native speaker?
> >
> >
> >>  The debate about the identity  of the sniper is being debated
currently on
> >the
> >>  Forensic Linguistics listserv.  There's quite an argument about
> >the
> >>  person is native or non-native.  I'd have to agree with you and say
> >native.  I
> >>  agree with your comments about the phrasing of the statement about our
> >>  children being in danger.  It is stylistically well formed.  I also
> >it's
> >>  easy, intentionally or not, to sound garbled, illiterate and/or
> >non-native.
> >>
> >>  Isn't the sound subsitution regular in Black English/Ebonics/African
> >American
> >>  English?  What's PC in linguistics for that these days?  Certainly not
> >>  latter.
> >>
> >>  Lesa
> >>
> >>  Duane Campbell wrote:
> >>
> >>  > According to published reports, the notes left by the sniper are in
> >>  > imperfect English indicating perhaps a non-native speaker. Yet the
> >>  > sentence they have released -- "Your children are not safe at any
> >or
> >>  > in any place." (from memory) -- strikes me as a very well crafted
> >>  > sentence. Not just lucid and free from error, but stylish.
> >>  >
> >>  > Any forensic linguists on the list? Is there such a thing as a
> >>  > linguist?
> >>  >
> >>  > While I'm asking questions, Chief Moose (who is, incidentally, Dr.
> >Moose)
> >>  > replaces all of his "th" sounds with either a hard "D" (initial) or
> >>  > I have heard this from time to time, though usually not so
> >>  > including a classmate in 1950s rural Pennsylvania with a 100 percent
> >>  > white school population. I had always assumed it was a minor speech
> >>  > impediment (is there a new PC word for this?) or an ideomorph. Are
> >>  > dialects that include this shift?
> >>  >
> >>  > D
> >>
> --
> Dennis R. Preston
> Professor of Linguistics
> Department of Linguistics and Languages
> 740 Wells Hall A
> Michigan State University
> East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
> Office - (517) 353-0740
> Fax - (517) 432-2736

More information about the Ads-l mailing list