7.1128, Disc: Race and accent

The Linguist List linguist at tam2000.tamu.edu
Sun Aug 11 14:16:31 UTC 1996


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINGUIST List:  Vol-7-1128. Sun Aug 11 1996. ISSN: 1068-4875. Lines:  56
 
Subject: 7.1128, Disc: Race and accent
 
Moderators: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar: Texas A&M U. <aristar at tam2000.tamu.edu>
            Helen Dry: Eastern Michigan U. <hdry at emunix.emich.edu> (On Leave)
            T. Daniel Seely: Eastern Michigan U. <dseely at emunix.emich.edu>
 
Associate Editor:  Ljuba Veselinova <lveselin at emunix.emich.edu>
Assistant Editors: Ron Reck <rreck at emunix.emich.edu>
                   Ann Dizdar <dizdar at tam2000.tamu.edu>
                   Annemarie Valdez <avaldez at emunix.emich.edu>
 
Software development: John H. Remmers <remmers at emunix.emich.edu>
 
Editor for this issue: dseely at emunix.emich.edu (T. Daniel Seely)
 
---------------------------------Directory-----------------------------------
1)
Date:  Sun, 04 Aug 1996 12:35:33 CDT
From:  pdaniels at press-gopher.uchicago.edu (Peter Daniels)
Subject:  Re: 7.1104, Sum: race and accent
 
---------------------------------Messages------------------------------------
1)
Date:  Sun, 04 Aug 1996 12:35:33 CDT
From:  pdaniels at press-gopher.uchicago.edu (Peter Daniels)
Subject:  Re: 7.1104, Sum: race and accent
 
A useful diagnostic for African-American English: even in speech that
is otherwise indistinguishable from Standard General American (or
whatever), African Americans often maintain syllable-final obstruent
devoicing. When I first came to Chicago, I started listening to the
local CBS radio all-news operation, and after a few weeks I had the
impression that the morning anchor, Felicia Middlebrooks, was black.
Eventually I realized that the devoicing was what I was noticing;
years later, I saw a photo of her, and it turned out she is indeed
African American. I have observed this feature frequently in speakers
otherwise unidentifiable as to race.
 
Once in a while, the topic of Black English comes up on talk radio,
and educated black speakers call in to explain how they've mastered
Standard English for use in the business world, etc.; almost always,
they are referring only to grammar and lexicon and to the familiar
"markers" (Labov's term); almost never do they realize that they con-
tinue final devoicing; often, they maintain a vocalic system different
from that of the local Standard variety.
 
Another observation regarding final devoicing: long ago (in summer camp.
1964-65), one of the Directors--Italian American male--had a speech
peculiarity that I later realized consisted of interchanging the voicing
of final obstruents--his voicelesses were voiced as well as his voiceds
being voiceless.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINGUIST List: Vol-7-1128.



More information about the Linguist mailing list