voice and race recognition

john at research.haifa.ac.il john at research.haifa.ac.il
Wed Dec 29 07:01:11 UTC 2010

He's got (here and there) a number of features which Northern Whites
associate with Blacks--monophthongization of /ay/ (actually it isn't
a monophthong, the y is changed to a schwa), saying short i for short e
before nasals and in 'get'. Northern Whites (or alternatively isolated
Blacks who live in an otherwise entirely White environment) often
get confused by these general Southern features into thinking that the
person is Black, but southerners (Blacks and Whites) and northern Blacks can
easily tell the difference. He also very occasionally has a stop for the voiced
dental fricative, which is used by many NYC Whites but I think many Whites
may not realize this, and this really makes a strong 'Black' impression
(although he doesn't do it often, which a Black person would be more sensitive
too). I wonder though where he got these features from--I don't see anything
obvious in his biography which would suggest this.

Quoting "Angus B. Grieve-Smith" <grvsmth at panix.com>:

> On 12/28/2010 9:13 AM, john at research.haifa.ac.il wrote:
> > Related to this, it seems to be practically impossible for White
> > Americans to convincingly mimic the speech of Black Americans, at least to
> the
> > extent that Black Americans think that they are actually Black on the basis
> of
> > their voice--a project I was working on during the 1980s spent a good deal
> of
> > time trying to find such White Americans with absolutely no success, I mean
> not
> > a single person.
>      I can't really think of one either.  There are some people who,
> hearing Howie Hawkins on the radio, thought he was Black, but I'm not
> sure if any of them were Black themselves:
> --
> 				-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
> 				grvsmth at panix.com

This message was sent using IMP, the Webmail Program of Haifa University

More information about the Funknet mailing list