Heard on The Judges: sE "there" > BE "it"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 8 17:57:45 UTC 2008

The post is somewhat spare, I must say. What I was getting at was
that, even in a more-formal-than-normal environment and under the
psychological pressure of having just heard the highest-ranking person
in that environment use the standard form, the individual still used
the dialect form, indicating - to me, anyhow - that the black speaker
was unaware, consciously, that there was any distinction that existed
between his syntax and that of the judge. I was once blessed with this
lack of awareness.

Unfortunately, I'm still cursed with an inability to be consciously
aware that other people lack the ability simply to intuit my train of
thought. :-(

Sorry about that, Ron.


On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 12:40 PM,  <RonButters at aol.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Heard on The Judges: sE "there" > BE "it"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is not a particularly AAVE construction. It is a Southernism, as Juanita
> Williamson pointed   out around 1970.
> It is not exactly news to anyone with even an elementary understanding of
> American dialects that a "Thirty-ish, black, male speaker" would say this. It
> would only be slightly less interesting to note that such a speaker said "y'all"
> rather than "you," or "It looks like you done had a haircut!"
> In a message dated 5/8/08 12:02:35 PM, hwgray at GMAIL.COM writes:
>> Cuban-American Judge Milian:
>> "_There was_ a problem the second time, too?"
>> Thirty-ish, black, male speaker:
>> "_It was_, ma'am."
>> -Wilson
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