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ERIC Number: ED027514
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Oct-22
Pages: 69
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Contraction, Deletion, and Inherent Variability of the English Copula.
Labov, William
This report presents some of the findings of several years research on the relations between the non-standard English used by Negro speakers in various urban ghetto areas (NNE) and standard English (SE). The immediate subject is the status of the copula and auxiliary "be" in NNE. The approach to the problem combines the methods of generative grammar and phonology with techniques for the quantiative analysis of systematic variation. The principal data upon which the discussion is based are drawn from long-term studies of six male adolescent and pre-adolescent peer groups in South Central Harlem and 20 working-class adults out of a stratified random sample of 100 adults from the same area. Two white peer groups from the Inwood section of Manhattan provide controls for comparison with white nonstandard English. The author investigates the form and order of the grammatical and phonological rules controlling the appearance of copula and auxiliary "be" and on the basis of his data concludes that contraction and subsequent deletion of a single consonant is the correct explanation. This model for linguistic research demonstrates that data from the speech community can provide a much-needed, sound, empirical base for decisive solutions to linguistic problems. (MK)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Copula (Grammar)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Chicago, Illinois, December 1967.