Cases in Indo-European

Rick Mc Callister rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu
Tue Jan 26 18:18:16 UTC 1999

	This is not always true. In the last 30 years or so, the white
Southern US dialect has been giving way to standard US English --the
"written" norm here, of course, is television. While -r dropping is common
among whites 50 or older in Mississippi, it is almost non-existent among
white students where I teach. With the exception of "y'all", most of them
sound like they're from the Midwest.

	The same phenomenon is seen in Costa Rica and quite a few other
places in Latin America, where --on the whole-- younger generations speak a
much more standard version of the language than their parents.

	Re the written word, it's said the Midwestern English is closer to
standard English because Germans and other immigrants learned their English
at school from a textbook rather than from their parents. This is a facile
explanation, of course.

>So a written norm does not greatly affect the process of language change, it
>simply hides it.


[ Moderator's comment:
  This is not due to *written* language, but rather to *spoken* language heard
  widely for the first time in the history of humanity:  What young Southerners
  and young Latin Americans have in common is that they can now frequently hear
  the prestige (or at least neutral) form of their language, frequently enough
  that they can learn it as a natural language.  *Written* language never had
  this effect; rather, like _katharevousa_, the spoken language continued to
  diverge from the "standard" until the latter was done away with.

  For the record, I am a native speaker of Southern US English of more than 30
  years ago.
  --rma ]

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