velarized /l/ and Billy Holiday

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 7 07:59:56 UTC 2009

Good point, Mark. And 1973 isn't 2009. Therer've been changes - all
for the better - that I would never have expected to see, looking
forward from the 'Forties.

And, nowadays, I find the exploitation of BE speech patterns for comic
effect by white people to be pretty funny. Nowadays, it strikes me as
more hommage than mockery, even the dumbell mistakes, such as when an
adult character says to a child character, something like:

"Luke, I am your _baby daddy_!"

obviously attempting to pun on on

"Luke, I am your father!"

and getting the nonsensical:

"Luke, I am your _baby's_ father!"


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 3:09 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: velarized /l/ and Billy Holiday
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 2:58 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at> wrote:
>> I had occasion to chat with said professor at the '73 Michigan Summer
>> LSA. He mentioned that he had seen me at various other linguistic
>> happenings "and I've been wondering what you're doing here."
>> This question struck me as astoundingly, unbelievably, incredibly,
>> stunningly, astonishingly, I-can't-believe-what-I'm-hearing, amazingly
>> racist. But later, when I tried to whine about this to friends, I
>> found that no one else found this question to be at all out of place
>> or uncalled-for. Apparently, everyone else was in agreement with the
>> implication that the presence of a black person at a linguistic
>> conference was something so out of the ordinary that it should be
>> expected that his presence there could be questioned or even be
>> challenged.
>> Is the LSA, therefore, a racist organization made up of racists?
>> Of course not! But the experience of the United States by a black
>> person is simply different from the experience of the United States by
>> a white person: different expectations, different reactions.
>> What can you do?
>> -Wilson
> We can all try to understand each other and the positions we and others find
> ourselves in. We can keep our lines of communication open, and default to
> not assuming hostility, racism, etc. ... All of which you are doing and
> promoting with the above and many of your other posts. Thanks.
> m a m
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