Cases in Indo-European

Dr. John E. McLaughlin and Michelle R. Sutton mclasutt at
Wed Jan 27 05:20:06 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

H. Mark Hubey wrote:

[ moderator snip ]

> Nice examples. I still have no idea what this is supposed to do. Let's
> see, the system is not small. T2-T1 is not large but neither is the
> change. Is the change externally driven?
> I don't know. Is it from Hispanic? Is it from Black slang/lingo? Suppose
> it is.

No, it's not externally driven and none of these changes have anything to do
with Hispanics or Blacks.  Guess what?  Whites did this.  I know it may sound
amazing to you, but language just changes.  We don't need input from anyone
else.  The 'like' and rising intonation changes came out of pure white-bread
Valley Girl California.

> Then this already existed in the language.

Changes are not the result of "preexisting conditions".  They often begin de
novo in one place at one time with a native speaker of a given language.  They
are usually not the result of contact or imperfect learning by immigrants.

> It is like saying that there are black sheep and white sheep and that 10% is
> black. Now 100 years later, there are still black and white sheep but their
> proportion is smaller but now we got grey sheep. All it shows is that it is
> spreading in a different way. It does not show that something that wasn't
> there has cropped up.  If furthermore, you claim that Black slang/lingo was
> not English, then you again have externally-driven change.

These changes do not derive from Black English and were not in the language 100
years ago.  Language just changes without outside influence (no matter how long
that "influence" may have lain dormant).  You can't seem to understand this at
all even though historical linguists have repeatedly made the point with many
examples on many lists with you.  Them's the facts.  You can't change them just
because you don't like them or they don't fit your presuppositions.

John McLaughlin
Utah State University

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