question about African-American mimicry

Matthew Gordon gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU
Wed May 2 18:47:33 UTC 2007

John Baugh recounts a similar experience from his childhood in _Beyond
Ebonics_ (p. 9). He switches into an exaggerated version of Standard English
to mock a teacher, but the joke is lost on the teacher who assumes Baugh is
being sincere.

-Matt Gordon

On 5/2/07 12:02 PM, "Darla Wells" <dlw3208 at LOUISIANA.EDU> wrote:

> 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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