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Lecture 18

LING316 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Yankee Group, Diphthong, Oneword

Course Code
Terry Nadasdi

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November 13th, 2014
Language Reform
According to Lakoff: “social change creates language change, not the reverse, social
change must precede lexical change… one cannot purely by changing language use
change social status.”
Others state that as long as women use a language constructed principally by
men and which underscores their subordinate status, social reform will be
impossible or extremely limited (is it a tool or simply a reflection?)
Review (Logic)
- Verbal deprivation
- Educational psychologist, having interviewed Black kids who spoke in
one-word utterance.
- Insufficient input created a verbal deficit
- The interview situation was asymmetrical
- Labov was able to elicit verbose output when the situation was modified.
Even in the first case, the children showed discursive skills. Labov concludes that the
educational psychologists’ conducted an uncontrolled experiment since they didn’t pay
attention to the speaker’s interpretation of their intentions.
Origins od AAV(E)?
- Regional variety learned by blacks in plantation settings
- Started out as a creole, result of English in contact with west African languages
and over time we’ve moved along the post creole continuum towards the
Some researchers have suggested that Black English structures like “They mine” (Zero
copula), “Me got juice” (syncretism between subject and object) are ungrammatical and
illogical. Concerning zero copula, L. states that this is how relations of predication are
established in Russian, Hungarian and Arabic. AAVE follows that same strict rule set as
Standard English contraction.
Concluding Remarks
1. Uncontrolled misleading data was used to form deficit theory and to say that Black kids
spoke in a restricted code, ill-equipped for communicating complex ideas and this was
related to poor performance in school.
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