Michael Newman mnewman at QC.EDU
Tue Dec 11 13:37:15 UTC 2001

>Michael Newman <mnewman at QC.EDU> wrote
>On the article, I am struck by the fact that the contemporary use of
>the r-less version to mean "dude" (discussed a month or so ago) is
>mentioned only in a confused and incomplete way. It is only the r-ful
>version that retains a racial sense among most inner city kids.
>In r-less dialects like those of NYC and Boston, how can they tell?
>                   Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist
>  Dragon Systems, a Lernout & Hauspie company : speech recognition
>  320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02460, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com

I've wondered about this myself. The difference is clearly there
conceptually, since it was reported to me by several kids, as well as
it being written with an -a ending. Also, if there were a vowel
following, an r would appear. However, the -r form just isn't said,
or is said very rarely.  I only have one instance of it, a girl
saying "I'm a Niggerican" (=half African-American, half Puerto
Rican), and that totally neutralizes the difference. I suspect there
may be a difference in vowel quality.
Michael Newman
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Disorders
Queens College/CUNY
Flushing, NY 11367

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