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ERIC Number: ED162519
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Pages: 40
Abstractor: N/A
Dialect Features in the Language of Black Characters on American Television Programming.
Fine, Marlene G.; Anderson, Carolyn
This study describes the syntactic features of Black English Vernacular (BEV) spoken by black characters in three black situation comedies on American television: "The Jeffersons,""Good Times," and "What's Happening." Using scripts and audio tapes of three episodes from each series during the 1977-78 television season, transcripts were made of each show and each show was coded for the presence of ten common syntactic features of BEV in naturalistic settings as described by sociolinguists. The results indicate that television is homogenizing the dialect. BEV, as spoken on television, tends to cluster in only three of the ten syntactic categories--auxiliary deletion, copula deletion, and negative concord--providing a limited dialect that does not correspond to BEV in naturalistic settings, but gives the impression of difference. Within this limited dialect, the use of BEV features tends to follow predicted use patterns based on the sociolinguistic findings: (1) males use BEV more frequently than females; (2) while most teenagers use BEV infrequently (unlike the sociolinguistic findings), teenage gang members are high BEV users; (3) low socio-economic status (SES) characters use BEV more frequently than high SES characters. Five tables are appended showing frequency of variants across categories and use of BEV by sex and age. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the World Congress of Sociology, (9th, Uppsala, Sweden, August 1978)