ERIC Number: ED028416
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Uncle Remus Dialect: A Preliminary Linguistic View.
Long, Richard A.
Anthropologist Melville Herskovits, in the section on language of his book "The Myth of the Negro Past" (1941), gives one of the first scientific orientations to the study of black speech in the United States. His basic contribution was to establish the following main points: (1) that the black people in the New World came from regions of Africa where languages of the Niger-Congo family (Greenberg classification) were spoken; (2) that inevitably upon initial contact with New World dialects of European languages, speakers of these African languages created pidgins overwhelmingly Niger-Congo in structure and varyingly European in lexicon; and (3) that the pidgins were succeeded by creoles. Looking at Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus cycle from this point of view, the author believes that Harris emerges as a skilled recorder of such a creolized variety of Southern speech--the black Middle Georgia dialect. The most conspicuous features of this dialect are: the absence of the interdental consonant in any position, palatalization of the voiced and voiceless velar consonants, suppression of all varieties of "r," deletion of prefixing elements, contraction, and the uninflected verb and genitive. Reasons for all of these phenomena can be found in the Niger-Congo languages. Also compared are the tense systems of Niger-Congo and black dialect speakers. (DO)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Harris (Joel Chandler); Herskovits (Melville Jean); Niger Congo Languages; Uncle Remus; United States (South)
Note: Paper presented at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, March 28-30, 1969.