ERIC Number: ED120767
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
Variation in Some Southern Black Idiolects: Indirect Question Formation.
Butters, Ronald R.
Earlier sociolinguistic studies distinguish between Standard English and Black English with respect to indirect question formation. Standard English typically does not invert the tense-marker "do" in the imbedded question ("Ask John if he played basketball today") while Black English does ("Ask John did he play basketball today"). In fact, the inverted form is common among speakers of Standard English and the noninverted forms are common among the Black English speakers examined in this study: elderly female basilectal speakers in Wilmington, North Carolina. For most speakers, then, "do"--inversion is a variable rule, not a categorical rule. Speakers for whom the rule is categorical would appear to be either in a hypercorrecting stage of the post-creole continuum, or more likely merely immature speakers affected by age-grading. (Author/KS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (45th, Atlanta, November 6-8, 1975)