Offensive vernacular?

Sally Donlon sod at LOUISIANA.EDU
Thu Feb 12 14:03:53 UTC 2004

First, my lifelong experience with people of color (here in South Louisiana and
New Orleans) tells me that the parody bears very little resemblance to any such
vernacular. It is more representative, I believe, of an amorphous, generally
uneducated, person responding to a perceived rebuke. My guess is that this
exchange, if it happened, is of a hierarchical nature (i.e., a mild rebuttal to
a secretary who had the audacity to "correct" a professor?).

sally donlon

Sam Clements wrote:

> What I would want to know is--why did your colleague choose to write this
> stupidity to his secretary in this instance?  It sounds like an urban legend
> or some exponentially forwarded message that is sent in e-mail to my mother.
> Is your colleague in the habit of doing this kind of thing in an official,
> office situation?    Did "Joyce" (not her real name) talk in a similar
> manner in her email?  WHY did he choose to reply to her the way he did? What
> did his message have to do with her message?
> SC
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joseph Nardoni" <JNardoni at AOL.COM>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 10:12 PM
> Subject: Offensive vernacular?
> > Hi, a colleague of mine is taking some heat for sending the following
> email
> > message.  I will give a brief situation. He missed class one day, and
> forgot to
> > tell the secretary he would be out, so she couldn't tell his students who
> > came looking for him.  She sent him an email request to remember next
> time.  This
> > is what he wrote:
> >
> > Shucks, Joyce, (not her real name), ya know, ah plumb forgot.  Mah Dean
> > alreddy new it, 'n ah told mah classes on Frahday ah wuddn't be their.
> Guess some
> > folks wuz out thet day.  Ah'll dismember it neckst tahme.
> >
> > Some people at my college are claiming this language is a clear attempt to
> > use a vernacular that "has been ascribed derisively, to people of color."
> >
> > While I'm not a linguist, it seems to me that this sounds more like the
> > dialect of a southern white hillbilly, or even a parody of one, ala Li'l
> Abner.
> >
> > What I am asking for is your considered opinions as to what dialectal
> > influences you see in this language, and any information you have that
> would suggest
> > this kind of language has been ascribed in derision towards people of
> color.
> >
> > Thanks.
> >
> > Joseph Nardoni
> >

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