question about African-American mimicry

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed May 2 17:53:19 UTC 2007

Seems like some of Eddie Murphy's old routines did this--probably in the 1980s?


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 12:02:36 -0500
>From: Darla Wells <dlw3208 at LOUISIANA.EDU>
>Subject: question about African-American mimicry
>Is there a linguistic term for speech that is altered in pitch and tone to make fun of other people's speech and mannerisms? I am hunting for a reference because I am writing about an instance of it in a rap song, "99 Problems." In "99 Problems" Jay-Z gets stopped by a white cop and the performance is one in which he overpronounces his word endings and vowels and nasalizes the whole speech and drags it out. I have run across a description of this before in Keith Basso's work with Native Americans making fun of whites'speech but can't remember if there is a term for it. If there is, I am also wondering who writes about such. I don't remember seeing a bunch of that kind of thing until the show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air came on in the early 90's. They have the wimpy little  rich guy talking like that and are always making fun of him because he is so preppy and always "acting white."
> Darla

The American Dialect Society -

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