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ERIC Number: ED045990
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Nov-2
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Creoles and Copulas.
Anshen, Frank
In his article "Contraction, Deletion, and Inherent Variability of the English Copula" ("Language," 1969, William Labov asserts that the affinities of Black English (BE) with Standard English (SE) are evidenced by the fact that BE copula deletion occurs in those positions where SE copula contraction may occur. This paper examines the conclusions reached by other scholars that BE's affinities are more with Creole languages than with SE, and considers the copula in several Creoles (West African Pidgin, Gullah, and Haitian Creole) in order to determine the extent to which copula absence can be taken as evidence of the Creole nature of BE. The author finds evidence to support both sides of the argument, nor does he find the two positions incompatible. He concludes, however, after an examination of Hebrew, a copula-less language unrelated to the other languages in question, that the copula positions examined by Labov (past tense, clause final, and following a verb or auxiliary) "have some sort of inter-language importance to copulas in that funny things happen in these positions," and sees this fact as limiting the extent to which comparative studies of the copula in Creole languages can support or weaken either side of the argument. (FWB)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper delivered at the Creole Symposium at the Fall meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Diego, California, November 1970