ERIC Number: ED163760
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Misuses and Dangers of Literary Dialect as Linguistic Data. Papers in Linguistics: 1974-1977: A Collection of M.A. Papers from Students in the Linguistics Department of Northeastern Illinois University.
Petersen, P. W.
The dangers and misuses of literary dialect as a source of information for linguistic evaluation are analyzed. "Literary dialect" is used to refer to writing in which the main purpose is the artful construction of a narrative, where the dialect representation is apt to be concerned more with giving an artful impression of a dialect than with giving an accurate rendering. Data from a linguistic paper, "Toward a New Perspective in Negro English Dialectology"(1965), by Beryl Loftman Bailey, are criticized. The paper uses Warren Miller's novel, "The Cool World," a novel written in literary dialect, as data in concluding that black and white Southern speech differs significantly because the speech of blacks has its origins in a "proto-creole" grammatical structure. Important aspects of a linquistic evaluation of literary dialect are discussed. Since Bailey's argument for black-white speech differences centers on verb usages, particularly the verb "be," the frequencies of "is/are" occurrence in "The Cool World" are compared with frequencies found in a study by Wolfram (1971) based on live informants. Four other items that are considered in criticizing the accuracy of the novel are multiple negativization, embedded yes-no questions, embedded Wh-questions, and optional "do support" (insertion of the verb "do" in a sentence). (SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Northeastern Illinois Univ., Chicago. Dept. of Linguistics.