Abstracts are in alphabetical order by presenter last name.
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alphabetical list of presenters.
6aFRI : Friday, April 16, 11:20-11:40, Ferguson Theater
The History and Geography of the Caddo Language
University of California, Santa Barbara
The words of my title are to be taken in several different
senses. I will first summarize briefly the history of the Caddo people
as it is known from available historical records, mentioning their
earliest known locations and their several migrations to other areas.
Turning to more linguistic matters, I will begin with some remarks
on the history of research on the Caddo language. I will then illustrate
a few of the ways in which the history of the language itself can
be reconstructed. Then I will discuss its place within the Caddoan
language family, consisting of Caddo, Pawnee, Arikara, Wichita, and
Kitsai, and will touch on possible relations of that family to the
Siouan and Iroquoian families. Finally I will illustrate ways in which
the Caddo language has been influenced by languages spoken in adjacent
areas, including the Indian languages Tonkawa, Arapaho, Osage, and
Choctaw, as well as the European languages Spanish, French, and English.
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The Isleño dialect of Spanish
is a dying language spoken fluently by less than 1500 descendents
of Canary Island recruits sent in 1778 to populate the southeastern
marshlands of Louisiana. Their ethnic enclave has been approached
by the a suburb of New Orleans where a dialect of American English
called "Yat" originated in the early 1900s when Irish and
Italian immigrants brought as construction workers and laborers commingled
with German- and French-heritage residents in the eastern neighborhoods
outside the core of the old city. Dillard (1985) believes that port
or fishing employment established the Yat dialect in New Orleans,
and Isleños, whose primary employment was fishing and trapping,
easily interacted with these speakers when they engaged in selling
their catches in the markets around New Orleans. Thus, Isleño
speakers acquired Yat as their own American English dialect in addition
to keeping Isleño Spanish as the language of in-group communication.
This study focuses on the choice of code for Isleños: if they
have any proficiency in Isleño Spanish they cling to that "rural,
popular, archaic" variety (Lipski 1990) inside the enclave but
also employ Yat for everyday communication in English. Both dialects
are characterized as uneducated accents spoken by proud, fun-loving
people (Starnes 1994) of working-class immigrant backgrounds. Thus,
Isleños are doubly marked for ethnicity and social class: they
speak a nonstandard dialect of Spanish when they are able and a nonstandard
dialect of English otherwise. However, the covert prestige of these
two dialects means that group membership in the Isleño community
is positively evaluated by both its ancestral Spanish origin and its
social and regional affiliation with Yat of New Orleans. Yat speakers
consider themselves long-time residents of New Orleans, authentic
Orleanians without pretensions of social climbing. "Good, down-to-earth
people" and "regular folks" are identifications which
allow Yat speakers to believe that their dialect embodies the good
qualities of their community (Starnes 1994). Because "authentic"
Isleños can no longer rely solely on use of Isleño Spanish
as a marker of identity, their methods of authenticating a "real"
Isleño now extends to length of residence in the older New
Orleans neighborhoods where Yat is spoken. The connotation of authenticity
surrounding Yat also allows Isleños who are only passively
bilingual or "rememberers" (Lestrade 2002) in Isleño
Spanish but who speak Yat as their native dialect of English to feel
pride as in-group members despite their lack of proficiency in Spanish.
Dillard, J. L. 1985. Language
and linguistic research in Louisiana. Pp. 1-42 in Nicholas Spitzer
(ed.) Louisiana Folklife: A Guide to the State. aton Rouge: Moran
Lestrade, Patricia. 2002. The continuing decline of Isleño
Spanish in ouisiana. Southwest Journal of Linguistics 21:99-117.
Lipski, John M. 1990. The Language of the Isleños: Vestigial
Spanish in ouisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Starnes, Mary. 1994. Attitudes toward Yat dialect speakers in New
Orleans, ouisiana. Pp. 21-32 in Linda DePascual, et al. (eds.) New
Orleans eighborhood Talk. New Orleans: Loyola University of New Orleans.
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3bTHR: Thursday, April 15, 2:00-2:20, Ferguson Forum
The fronting of /u/ among African-Americans:
evidence from LAMSAS data
University of Georgia
The fronting of the back vowel /u/ in words like “boot”
has long been considered a feature of white speakers in the southeastern
United States (Thomas 2001). It is not usually considered to be a
feature of African American speech, as noted in Bailey and Thomas
(1998) and others. However, data from the Linguistic Atlas of the
Middle and South Atlantic states (LAMSAS) show evidence of fronted
/u/ for all speakers in the southeastern United States, including
The data for the LAMSAS project were collected primarily in the 1930s
and 1940s, with additional data from the 1960s and 1970s. LAMSAS covers
a vast area of the eastern United States from New York to Georgia,
and emphasizing older rural speakers. Data from all 1162 speakers
in LAMSAS were examined, yielding 1322 tokens of /u/ in “two”
and 869 tokens of /u/ in “afternoon”. There are 41 African-American
speakers in the sample, all living in the South at the time of the
The LAMSAS data confirm previous findings that /u/ tends to be fronted
in the South. The data also show evidence of fronted /u/ vowels among
Southern African American speakers. This is unexpected since African
Americans are not generally thought to take part in this sound change.
However Anderson (Forthcoming) and Anderson and Milroy (1999, 2001,
In Preparation) found evidence of fronted /u/ and /U/ among African
American speakers in Detroit. Anderson et al. (2002) analyze current
day Detroit AAE data in comparison with data collected in Detroit
by Walt Wolfram in the 1960s and report that the older data source
yields only incipient fronting of /U/ and no fronting of /u/. Fronting
of the high back vowels in Detroit AAE appears to be a recent change
in progress. Fridland (2001) also found fronting for /u/ and /U/ among
middle aged and younger African American speakers in Memphis, TN.
Although Anderson and her associates and Fridland conclude that fronting
of the high back vowels is a recent change in AAE, and Thomas (2001)
reports that /u/ and /U/ are backed in varieties of AAE in the South,
the data from LAMSAS do not show any correlation between race and
the frontness of /u/. This finding suggests that the historical component
to the fronting of /u/ is more complex than previously thought.
Anderson, Bridget. Forthcoming. An Acoustic Study
of Southeastern Michigan African American and Appalachian Southern
Migrant Vowel Systems. Ph.D. Dissertation. Ann Arbor, MI: The University
Anderson, Bridget and Lesley Milroy. 1999. Southern Sound Changes
and the Detroit AAVE Vowel System. Paper given at NWAV(E) 28, Toronto.
Anderson, Bridget and Lesley Milroy. 2001. Towards an integrated account
of internal and external constraints on language change. Paper presented
at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Washington
Anderson, Bridget and Lesley Milroy. In Preparation. Internal and
external constraints on change in the Detroit African-American vowel
system: A case study and some further implications. MS. The University
Anderson, Bridget, Jennifer Nguyen and Lesley Milroy. 2002. Fronting
of /u/ and /U/ in Detroit AAE: Evidence from Real and Apparent Time.
New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 31, Stanford University.
Bailey, Guy, and Erik Thomas. 1998. Some Aspects of AAVE Phonology.
African-American English: Structure, History, and Use. Salikoko S.
Mufwene, John R. Rickford, Guy Bailey and John Baugh (eds). London:
Fridland, Valerie. 2001. The Relationship of Network Strength and
Changes in the Southern Vowel Shift among African Americans in Memphis,
Tennessee. New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 30, North Carolina
Thomas, Erik. 2001. An Acoustic Analysis of Vowel Variation in New
World English. A Publication of the American Dialect Society 85. Durham:
Duke University Press.
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10b: Saturday, April 17, 12:35-12:55, Ferguson Forum
Language contact and the acquisition of AAVE:
A case study of sociolectal adjustment
University of North Texas
Apparent time studies have provided the majority
of data used in documenting linguistic change (cf. Labov 1963, 1966;
Labov et. al 1968; Wolfram 1969; Rickford 1992). Research by Bailey
et al. (1991) validates the assumption of the apparent time construct
that speakers’ vernaculars remain relatively stable throughout
their lifetimes; however, as Bailey (2002) suggests, we cannot assume
that the vernaculars of adolescents will remain stable as they progress
into adulthood. Bailey shows that the use of African American Vernacular
English (AAVE) features by two Springville adolescents increases dramatically
over a period of eight years as they identify more with urban norms
and less with the rural norms of their childhood. The longitudinal
data from these adolescents show that their vernaculars begin to stabilize
once they become young adults. However, other studies have suggested
a similar kind of instability in the vernaculars of young adults as
well, with changes occurring due to pressures from the linguistic
marketplace (Sankoff and Sankoff 1973; Sankoff and Laberge 1978; Sankoff
et al. 1989). These sociolectal adjustments (Chambers (1995, 2003)
are typically caused by market pressures toward a more standardized
variety of speech.
The present study investigates sociolectal adjustment of a different
kind – the acquisition of AAVE grammatical features by a young
Mexican American woman (b. 1974) from the community of Springville,
Texas. Recordings from her over an seven-year period from 1995-2002
show a steady increase in the use of zero copula, verbal -s absence,
and had+past for simple past in her speech. When she was first recorded
in 1995 at the age of twenty-one, none of these features were present
in her speech, but as her peer group changes during this period she
adopts the norms of the young Springville African American speech
community. The discussion of the data also includes an examination
of the frequency of the features mentioned above and the constraints
on their use to determine if her use of AAVE patterns similarly to
that of young Springville residents.
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3aTHR: Thursday, April 15, 2:00-2:20, Ferguson Theater
Genre, the Individual Voice, and Alabama Storytelling
Catherine Evans Davies
University of Alabama
“Storytelling” in the form of traditional
narrative is a genre of oral discourse that has received considerable
scholarly attention by sociolinguists, drawing on data in the form
of personal-experience narratives from different sociocultural contexts
in the United States. Apart from Heath (1983) which examines stories
by black and white speakers in the rural Carolinas, the other studies
have considered data collected from non-Southern speakers (Labov (1972)
and Polanyi (1985) from New Yorkers, Schiffrin (1981) from Philadelphians,
Johnstone (1990) from Midwesterners, and Norrick (2000) from a wider
sampling of white, non-Southern speakers. Most of these narratives
conform to the classic oral narrative structure as identified in Labov
and Waletsky (1967 ) and Labov (1972). Another sort of discourse defined
by its practitioners as “storytelling” does not conform
to a classic narrative structure, but can easily be imagined as a
component of multi-generational conversations on Alabama front porches
during long summer evenings. Falling under the general heading of
“first-person reminiscences” and “family stories,”
it has long created categorization problems for folklorists (Brunvand
1978, Dorson 1983). Such discourse is captured and represented in
short pieces heard as “commentary” on local public radio
and then collected on tapes/cds and sold under the title of “Recollections.”
The data under analysis here is a group of about 40 of these “recollections”
from the pre-eminent storyteller from Alabama, Kathryn Tucker Windham
(1987, 1988, 1989, 1997). Whereas Windham’s repertoire also
includes more traditional narratives (in the form of recordings of
ghost stories and of Alabama folktales), most of her “recollections”
have another form of coherence more akin to an “essay”
as a written genre, organized around topics (Chevalier 1997). They
may also represent a cultural reflex of a form of oral discourse in
conversation which is named in Irish tradition (Lambert 1985), and
culturally recognizable but unnamed within the American folk inventory.
As such they would represent cultural influences from earlier immigration
patterns in Alabama (McWhiney 1988, Fischer 1989, Montgomery 2001).
This analysis explores how coherence is created within the “recollections,”
examining both cognitive (Chafe 1980, 2001) and structural dimensions
(Halliday & Hasan 1976, Tannen 1989), in an attempt to identify
the prototype of a genre which in this case is highlighted by commodification.
Moving from the identification of potential convention in the form
of genre to the recognition of the particular, the analysis then takes
up the question of the individual voice (Johnstone 1996, 1997, 2003),
analyzing how Windham’s accent and dialect locate the discourse
both within social and historical space and also in terms of “place”
in Alabama. Finally, the paper links this genre to the socialization
function of discourse (Heath 1983, Flynt 1993) through an exploration
of “evaluation” (Labov 1972, Bamberg 1997). As a form
of nostalgia (Frow 1997, Dika 2003, Davis 1979), the recollections
fit within a Southern cultural orientation to the value of tradition
(Wyatt-Brown 1982, Reed 1974) and as a commodified genre become available
to a wider audience.
Bamberg, Michael. 1997. Positioning between Structure
and Performance. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 7(1-4), 335-342.
Brunvand, Jan Harold. 1978. The Study of American Folklore (2nd ed.).
New York: W.W. Norton.
Chafe, Wallace (Ed.). 1980. The Pear Stories: Cognitive, cultural,
and linguistic aspects of narrative production. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
-------2001.”The Analysis of Discourse Flow ,” in D. Schiffrin,
D. Tannen, and H. Hamilton (eds.), The Handbook of Discourse Analysis,
673-687. Oxford: Blackwell..
Chevalier, Tracy. (ed.) 1997. Encyclopedia of the Essay. London and
Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.
Davis, Fred. 1979. Yearning for yesterday: a sociology of nostalgia.
New York: Free Press.
Dika, Vera. 2003. Recycled culture in contemporary art and film: the
uses of nostalgia. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dorson, Richard M. 1983. Handbook of American Folklore. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
Fischer, David Hackett. 1989. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways
in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Flynt, Wayne. 1993. The Storytelling Tradition and Southern Literature.
Paper presented at LAVIS II, Auburn University.
Frow, John. 1997. Time and commodity culture: essays in cultural theory
and postmodernity. New York: Oxford University Press.
Halliday, M.A.K., and Ruqaiya Hasan. 1976. Cohesion in English. London:
Heath, Shirley Brice. 1983. Ways with words: Language, life, and work
in communities and classrooms. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University
Johnstone, Barbara. 1990. Stories, community, and place: Narratives
from middle America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
-------1996: The Linguistic Individual: Self-expression in language
and linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.
-------1997. Social characteristics and self-expression in narrative.
Journal of Narrative and Life History, 7(1-4), 315-320.
-------2003. Features and uses of Southern style. In Stephen J. Nagle
and Sara L. Sanders (eds.), English in the Southern United States,
Labov , William. 1972. The Transformation of Experience in Narrative
Syntax. Language in the Inner City, 354-396. Philadelphia: University
of Pennsylvania Press.
------- and Joshua Waletsky. 1967. Narrative Analysis: Oral versions
of personal experience. In J. Helm (Ed.), Essays on the verbal and
visual arts: Proceedings of the 1966 Annual Spring Meeting of the
American Ethnological Society (pp. 12-44). Seattle: University of
Lambert, Kathleen Sheehan. 1985. The spoken web: An ethnography of
storytelling in Rannafast, Ireland. Unpublished dissertation. Boston
McWhiney, Grady. 1988. Cracker culture: Celtic ways in the Old South.
Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
Montgomery, Michael. 2001. “British and Irish Antecedents,”
in The Cambridge history of the English language, Vol VI, English
in North America, John Algeo (ed.) 86-153. New York: Cambridge University
Polanyi, Livia. 1985. Telling the American story: A structural and
cultural analysis of conversational storytelling. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Norrick, Neal R. 2000. Conversational Narrative. Storytelling in Everyday
Talk. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Reed, John Shelton. 1974. The enduring South: subcultural persistence
in mass society. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath and Co.
Schiffrin, Deborah. 1981. Tense variation in Narrative. Language 57:
Tannen, Deborah. 1989. Talking voices: Repetition, dialogue, and imagery
in conversational discourse. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Windham, Kathryn Tucker (1987, 1988, 1989, 1997) Recollections. Tuscaloosa,
Alabama: Alabama Public Radio.
Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. 1982. Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in
the Old South. New York: Oxford University Press.
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10a: Saturday, April 17, 12:35-12:55, Ferguson Theater
Stylization, aging, and cultural competence:
or, why health care in the South needs linguistics
Boyd Davis, Dena Shenk and Linda Moore
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Johnson C. Smith University
Stories told by older adults can help them hold on
to their sense of self and to their sense of the cultural contexts
that have shaped their lives. Shenk et al (2002) compare the role
of place and the similarity of themes in life history narratives by
two older rural Euro-American women. The first speaker independently
reconstructs her life in terms of the rural values that shaped her,
while the second speaker’s cognitive loss means that her story
must be co-constructed. Themes of “closeness of family, hard
work, ties to the land, and religious faith”(2002:1-2), and
the ways they are presented, are similar, even though one has Alzheimer’s.
Our examples for this discussion are from the ongoing stylization
in reminiscences by CEP and EW, two older African-American men from
the Carolinas, one of whom is significantly impaired by dementia.
We draw on their ways of narrative sequencing and information packaging
to illustrate our call for the development and provision of training
in multiple levels of language awareness, about discourse style and
cross-cultural rhetoric in first or second language, regional or social
Recent studies in communications disorders, such as Mahendra et al(1999)
and Ulatowska (2000), incorporate cross-cultural aspects of language
into clinical testing and training (cf Dijkstra et al, 2002; Barker
and Giles i.p.). However, both research and training in health care
communications need expansion in order to include a range of dialectal
and stylistic features. For example, CEP uses repetition both for
signifying on himself and styling, expecting his interlocutor to understand
that he is “enacting or reconstituting culture” (Coupland
2001:369) by the ways he presents himself. CEP is double-voicing:
his two-track stories call his interlocutor to affiliate with shared
cultural identity (Hazen 2002). CEP presents a man who has both suffered
deeply from racism and who has survived, successful on his own terms.
He plays among the features he selects to showcase both his metaphorical
and his real, if masked, ‘identity.’ Significantly impaired,
EW can no longer be loquacious, but he can use the stylistic device
of incremental phrasal repetition, to signal cultural features of
identity and invite involvement. Understanding how CEP and EW use
language could alter diagnosis and services.
Learning to recognize discourse components and features such as culturally-preferred
ways of telling a story is part of cultural competence. Discussing
the speech of Texas women, Johnstone comments that “sounding
like a Westerner can mean telling stories a certain way”(1999:316).
And it s not just stories: Kirkpatrick (1991) shows how a radio station
consistently overlooked requests in (English) letters from Mandarin
speakers because of placement of the request. Teacher-expectations
for cultural styles can be triggered by the use of a topic-associating
style of narrating (Taylor and Matsuda 1988; cf Rickford and McNair-Knox
New studies keyed to the 2000 Census, such as “Older Americans
2000,” analyze new patterns of immigration plus changing projections
for increased lifespan and retirement in Southern states. We need
to expand our analyses of language in the South to include medical
education, in order to assure that health care workers for the aging
can “tailor delivery to meet patients’ social, cultural,
and linguistic needs”(Cultural Compendium 2003:6).
Barker, V. and H. Giles. In press. Integrating the
communicative predicament and enhancement of aging models: the case
of older Native Americans. To appear, Health Communication. Compendium
of Cultural Competence Initiatives in Health Care. Henry J. Kaiser
Coupland, N. 2001. Dialect stylization in radio talk. Language in
Dijkstra, K., M. Bourgeois, G. Petrie, L. Burgio and R. Allen-Burge,
2002. My recaller is on vacation: discourse analysis of nursing home
residents with dementia. Discourse Processes 33:53-76.
Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. 2000. Older
Americans 2000: Key Indicators of Well-Being. Federal Interagency
Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Washington, DC U.S. Government
Printing Office. August 2000.
Green, L. 2002. African American English: a linguistic introduction.
Cambridge University Press.
Hazen, K. 2002. Identity and language variation in a rural community
Johnstone, B. 1999. Lingual biography and linguistic variation. Language
Kirkpatrick, A. 1996. Information sequencing in Mandarin letters of
request. Anthropological Linguistics 33:183-93.
Mahendra, N., K. Bayles, and C. Tomoeda. 1999. Effect of an unfamiliar
accent on the repetition ability of normal elders and individuals
with Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Medical Speech-Language
Rickford, J. and F. McNair-Knox. 1997. Addressee and topic-influenced
style shift: a quantitative sociolinguistic study. In D. Biber and
E. Finegan, eds., Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Register. New York:
Oxford University Press, 235-76
Ryan, E., S. Meredith, M. MacLean & J. B. Orange. 1995. Changing
the way we talk with elders: promoting health using the Communication
Enhancement Model. International Journal of Aging and Human Development
Shenk, D., B. Davis, J. Peacock & L. Moore. 2002. Narratives and
self-identity in later life: two rural American older women. Journal
of Aging Studies 11:1-13.
Taylor, O. L. and Matsuda, M. 1988. Storytelling and Classroom Discrimination.
In G. Smitherman-Donaldson and T.van Dijk, eds. Discourse and Discrimination.
Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Ulatowska, H., G. Olness, C. Hill, J. Roberts & M. Kepler. 2000.
Repetition in narratives of African Americans: the effects of aphasia.
Discourse Processes 30:265-83.
Wortham, S. 2001. Narratives in action: a strategy for research and
analysis. NY: Teachers College Press.
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1THR: Thursday, April 15, 9:55-10:15, Ferguson Theater
Francis Lieber's Americanisms as an Early Source
on Southern Speech
In 1848 John Bartlett published his Dictionary of Americanisms.
Partially as a response to Bartlett, Francis Lieber, a professor of
history and political economy at South Carolina College (present day
USC Columbia), compiled a work he entitled "Americanisms, Anglicisms,
etc etc" between 1849-1851. This unpublished work located today
in the Huntington Library (near Los Angeles) consists of ten small
notebooks (each about 6" x 5") with about 820 entries on
385 pages. Entries in Lieber's Americanisms include words and expressions
that Lieber considered new or whose usage he considered novel or unusual.
Lieber was interested in local vocabulary and slang and in distinguishing
Americanisms from Anglicisms. While Lieber's work has been briefly
discussed by Heath (1982) and Andresen (1990), most of the specific
entries have never been published. Lieber's entries are particularly
valuable because of his linguistic sophistication. One of Lieber's
mentors in Germany before coming to America was Wilhelm von Humboldt.
In this talk, I focus on the local words and expressions in Lieber's
Americanisms. These include southernisms, the college slang of South
Carolina College where he taught, and entries regarding black speech.
With respect to southernisms, Lieber, writing around 1850, gave several
entries that predate what is found in DARE or OED. For example, he
gave the following entry for doty. "Doty is a very common expression
here about (Columbia S. C.) for spongey rottenness inside a tree,
among common white people and negros." This term is listed in
both DARE and OED with similar meaning but the earliest date cited
is 1883. Lieber gives the following entry for frenching. "[I]t
is common in Florida to say a field frenches cotton or corn etc when
the plant first promises well but at a certain period becomes poor
and dies owing to the soil." DARE provides similar meaning but
with 1889 as the earliest date. Another interesting entry is Lieber's
entry for stake-and-rider fence. He gives the following, "the
name given here in S. Carolina (and perhaps everywhere further south)
to the fence called in Virginia and further North worm-fences".
Carver (1987) cites stake-and-rider fence as a feature exclusive to
the Lower North. Lieber provides entries and explanations for other
southernisms found in DARE such as givey (humid), honing (longing
for) and cracker. Regarding local college slang, Lieber gives such
lost terms as rat-fresh (a freshman who enters mid-term) and chawcastic
(being sarcastic about someone). Concerning black speech, Lieber makes
frequent references to characteristics he believes common among blacks.
Most noteworthy is his detailed grammatical explanation of perfective
DONE which he regards as a feature of black speech and notes the following:
"The lower white persons have much adopted this done, which is
an amplification and still further fixing of the idea of the past,
the completion of an action." Thus, Lieber sees the perfective
meaning of DONE among whites as an adaptation from black speech. Consequently,
Lieber's "Americanisms" provides a unique source of southernisms
in the antebellum period.
Andresen, Julie Tetel (1990) Linguistics in America
1769-1924: A Critical History, London: Routledge, pp. 114-119.
Carver, Craig (1987) American Regional Dialects: A Word Geography,
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Heath, Shirley Brice (1982) "American English: Quest for a Model".
In Braj Kachru (ed.) The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, pp. 237-249.
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5FRI : Friday, April 16, 9:55-10:15, Ferguson Theater
The Persistence of Dialect Features
Louisiana State University
University of Sydney
Language and social variation in Louisiana has
a long and complex history. Any account of the present day varieties
of English must begin with an historical overview of the ways in which
language, ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic structure have been interwoven
to form the intricate tapestry that is Louisiana. The focus of our
paper is on the vernacular English currently spoken by Creole African
Americans of French ancestry (CAAVE) and Cajuns (CVE) living in South
Louisiana. The sub sample study taken out of two larger corpora consists
of 24 African American male speakers and 16 Cajun male speakers. Language
change and linguistic persistence characterize the black and white
French-speaking populations. The most important change is the fall
in the number of bilinguals. One aspect of persistence is the development
of CAAVE and CVE dialects that distinguish THESE speakers from their
fellow Southerners. Another one is the maintenance of these divergent
dialects while others are disappearing elsewhere in Southern American
English (Bailey 2001). The linguistic features of CAAVE and CVE reported
on are (1) glide absence in the vowels (ai, au, oi, i, u, e, o), (2)
S-absence in the third person singular. (3) ED-absence in bimorphemic
words. When we compare the oldest speakers of both varieties phonological
and morphological variables show no difference. The only reason to
speak of two vernaculars is social. For the next generations, persistence
of the dialect takes quite a different form. In CAAVE a high rate
of glide absence is maintained across all generations. In CVE the
middle-aged generation use this feature dramatically less but the
younger generation increases its use so that their frequency approaches
the proportion found in the speech of the older generation. We have
called this process ‘recycling; we have reported this tendency
for many other variables in CVE (Dubois and Horvath 1998, 1999, 2003).
For morphological features, we notice the different rate of S- Absence
and ED- Absence in CAAVE and CVE. However the maintenance of these
features is stable among the generations of speakers who learned English
first. Their rate also is similar to the younger speakers who learned
French first. The striking difference between both dialects is the
phonological conditioning. No conditioning can be observed in CAAVE
whereas phonological constraints have a strong effect in CVE spoken
by young speakers. Our results show that both older CAAVE and CVE
speakers share the same linguistic environment, whether or not they
learned French or English first. We argue against the fact that that
the similarities between CAAVE and CVE as spoken by older speakers
are a result of interference from French. We suggest that they speak
comparable dialects because they learned English from people who spoke
English in and around their communities, not only as adults but as
children as well, and that these English speakers had all these features
in their speech. We will also show that linguistic persistence in
CAAVE has more to do with the patterns of social intercourse whereas
persistence in CVE is better explained by the social changes that
took place throughout the 20th century.
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7bFRI : Friday, April 16, 2:25-2:45, Ferguson Forum
Whither Cajun French: Language persistence
and dialectal upsurges
Louisiana State University
This paper reports the various sources of linguistic
variation in Cajun French, particularly the intergenerational and
geographical usage of dialectal forms. We observe the variable usage
of long-standing features that coincide with the academic model (il
avait [av], encore [kr],
aller chez ma mère, ils parlent, il est mort) and others local
norms that were frequently used in France during the 18th and 19th
centuries and are still used today in several vernacular varieties
of French (il avait [ave], encore [kor],
aller sur ma mère, ils parlont, il a mouri). (Dubois 2002,
Dubois, King and Nadasdi 2003, Noetzel and Dubois 2003) Thus, investigating
the evolution of usage patterns in Cajun French requires a systematic
and empirical comparison between well-established usages within the
Cajun community and the vernacular features in use within the francophone
Diaspora in North America, rather than focusing upon the academic
variety which plays no functional role in Louisiana.
Our corpus of Cajun French includes 135 speakers from five generations,
representing almost a century of Cajun French: the monolingual ancestors
(1890-1901); the French-dominant community elders (1905-1915); the
seniors (1920-1933), the middle-aged (1935-1951) and young speakers
(1957-1977). One striking result is the maintenance of dialectal features
across all generations of Cajun speakers, a finding at odds with the
linguistic changes that have taken place in Cajun English (Dubois
and Horvath 1999, 2003). There were massive sociocultural changes
within the Cajun community throughout the 20th century. One linguistic
response was the evanescence of bilingualism and the ontogenesis of
a dialect of English. The persistence of dialectal features in Cajun
French and the linguistic changes in Cajun English suggest that there
was little change in the patterns of social intercourse in French
while there was robust change emanating from the English discourse
interactions. When speaking French, Cajuns are not confronted in their
everyday life by someone who does not speak the same dialect, who
misunderstands them, or who socially evaluates the way they speak.
By contrast, accommodation to hearers is needed in English and there
is a marked social motivation for change. There are more English-speaking
people than French-speaking people who do not talk like Cajuns.
However, the Cajun French community was not an enclave in the 18th
and 19th centuries, patterns of social intercourse in French were
in flux. In order to determine the evolution of dialectal features
in Cajun French, one has to confront important questions about four
issues:1) the state of the French language in France during the colonization
period; 2) the variety of French spoken in Acadia before the exile;
3) the fate of different French dialects in Louisiana during the 19th
century; and 4) the specific constraints in effect within each Cajun
community that influence the development of local varieties.
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10a: Saturday, April 17, 11:45-12:05, Ferguson Theater
Voice Identification and Authorship Attribution
Issues in the American South
University of Tennessee
Southern speech patterns and perceptions of southern
speech patterns play an important role in social relations. Recent
documentation can be found in such works as Soukup 2000 and Hazen
2002 and also in much fiction and many films. Southern speech patterns
and perceptions of southern speech patterns also play an important
role in judicial process. Facts or perceptions about southern speech
play a role in many legal cases, both before and during trial. In
some cases, linguists are involved as consultants and/or expert witnesses
(Shuy 1996, Shuy 1998). Examples of case types include those involving
voice identification (Ash 1988, Labov 1988, Dumas 1990), authorship
attribution (Foster 2000,) accuracy of the transcript of an audio
recording, lexical interpretation, and grammatical patterns (Labov
1988, Shuy 1996, Dumas 2000). In this paper, I shall present brief
descriptions of the use of linguistic analysis in a series of court
cases involving voice identification and authorship attribution. I
shall also summarize ways in which linguistic analysis has been used
or can be used in other types of cases.
In one criminal case a defendant accused of felonious
selling of cocaine to an undercover agent on the basis of surreptitiously
made audio recordings of unambiguous transactions denied being the
person speaking on the tape. In another criminal case, a linguist
was asked by counsel for the defendant to compare videotape samples
of his voice with audio recordings of telephone calls ostensibly made
by someone else. Defendant, as he eventually confessed, had faked
his own death by murdering a friend (by setting his automobile on
fire). He then telephoned family members, pretending to be a lawyer
representing the “dead” defendant. Counsel for the defendant
was certain that his client was guilty, and he was seeking a guilty
plea so that his client would receive a life sentence rather than
the death penalty. A family member recognized the defendant’s
voice and alerted police. (Dumas 1990).
In a third case a linguist provided an analysis in
a murder case in which the linguistic issue involved the authorship
of a putative flight note in which the putative author announced her
planned departure with a lover. It was reported to have been written
by a woman who otherwise appeared to have been a murder victim (the
body has never been found). All evidence, including the putative flight
note, suggested that a jealous husband wrote the note and murdered
his wife. The linguistic analysis involved comparison of a handwritten
note known to have been written by the woman, and a brief typed note
(the flight note). The accused husband eventually confessed to having
killed the woman.
Dumas, Bethany K. 1990. Voice Identification in a Criminal
Law Context. American Speech 65.4:341–348.
Dumas, Bethany K. 2000. Dialect Variation and Legal Process. American
Speech 75.3: 267-270.
Hazen, Kirk. 2002. Identity and Language Variation in a Rural Community.
Shuy, Roger W. 1993. Language Crimes: The Use and Abuse of Language
Evidence in the Courtroom. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, USA, Blackwell.
Shuy, Roger W. 1998. The Language of Confession, Interrogation, and
Deception. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Soukup, Barbara. 2000. ‘Y’all come back now, y’hear!?’:
Language attitudes in the United States towards Southern American
English.” MA thesis, University of Vienna, May.
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2bTHR: Thursday, April 15, 11:45-12:05, Ferguson Forum
From French to English in Louisiana: the Prudhomme
Connie C. Eble
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
When the United States purchased Louisiana from
Napoleon in 1803, the dominant language was French. With Americanization
came the English language. By the time of the Civil War, English had
largely displaced French in public discourse in most of the state
and in the city of New Orleans. Only in the relatively isolated Acadian
area of southern Louisiana did French have dominance over English.
This paper examines the shift from French to English in the area of
earliest French settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory, around
the town of Natchitoches in northwestern Louisiana. It is based on
the family papers preserved by the descendants of the merchant Jean
Pierre Philippe Prudhomme, who came to the Natchitoches area in 1716.
The Prudhomme family became prosperous planters. In 1821 they moved
into a house on the banks of the Red River where subsequent generations
lived until the 1990s. The house and some of the land are now owned
by the National Park Service as part of the Cane River Creole National
The Prudhomme family papers (about 16,375 items), dating 1765-1997,
occupy 41 linear feet in the Southern Historical Collection at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They include plantation
journals and accounts, slave records, legal papers, files of the plantation
physician, and a wide range of items related to the social and non-business
interests of the Prudhommes, such as school lessons, greeting cards,
invitations, recipes and remedies, and letters.
This paper will focus on the19th century, noting the types of writing
and the chronology of the shift in language. It will also examine
texts for kinds and amounts of code switching. The 30 letters from
one teenager to her cousin a few miles away, written in the late 1850s,
for example, are almost all entirely in English, a few sentences in
French appearing in two or three. Around the same time, a mother in
the family writes to her son, “mon cher fils,” in French.
The language history of this one family gives a fuller picture of
the historical and contemporary variety of language in the American
Prudhomme Family Papers (#613), Manuscripts Department,
Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/
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2THR: Thursday, April 15, 12:35-12:55,Ferguson Theater
Vowel Merger as a Snapshot of The History of
Southern American English: Conditioned Mergers Before /r/
University of North Texas
In a comprehensive overview of linguistic change,
William Labov (1994) identifies merger as one of three major types
of phonological change (the others being splits and chain shifting).
Labov notes that mergers are among the most common type of sound change
and goes on to identify two types: conditioned mergers, or those that
occur in a singular phonological environment; and unconditional mergers,
or those that occur everywhere they can occur. Although linguists
studying Southern American English (SAE) often focus on chain shifting
(i.e., the “Southern Shift”), conditioned mergers are
also quite common in SAE. For instance, the mergers of /I/ and /E/
before nasals, of /ju/ and /u/ after alveolars, and of initial /ju/
and /u/ have all been robust processes in SAE over the last century.
One set of conditioned mergers that have also been robust, but that
have not been fully analyzed, are conditioned mergers before /r/.
This paper explores one set of conditioned mergers before /r/: the
merger of /er/, /Er/, and / r/, which leads to the homophony of the
sets Mary/merry/marry, and the merger of / r/ and /or/, which leads
to the homophony of horse/hoarse. It does so by examining the mergers
in two sources of data, the Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States (LAGS)
and the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS).
Taken together, these two sources provide apparent time data on more
than a century of Southern speech, and they also allow for the tracing
of the mergers from inception to completion. Using these sources,
this paper maps out a history of the two vowel mergers before /r/
in SAE and examines the social factors that served as amplifiers and
barriers to their spread. The apparent time distributions of the mergers
suggest that their diffusion was probably a consequence of the dialect
contact that resulted from widespread urbanization after 1880. In
this respect, the mergers form a kind of snapshot of the history of
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