Top linguists from diverse fields address language varieties in the South.
Language Variety in the South Revisited is a comprehensive collection of new research on southern United States English by foremost scholars of regional language variation. Like its predecessor, Language Variety in the South: Perspectives in Black and White (The University of Alabama Press, 1986), this book includes current research into African American vernacular English, but it greatly expands the scope of investigation and offers an extensive assessment of the field. The volume encompasses studies of contact involving African and European languages; analysis of discourse, pragmatic, lexical, phonological, and syntactic features; and evaluations of methods of collecting and examining data. The 38 essays not only offer a wealth of information about southern language varieties but also serve as models for regional linguistic investigation.
The third installment in the landmark LAVIS (Language Variety in the South) series, New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches brings together essays devoted to the careful examination and elucidation of the rich linguistic diversity of the American South, updating and broadening the work of the earlier volumes by more fully capturing the multifaceted configuration of languages and dialects in the South.
Beginning with an introduction to American Indian languages of the Southeast, five fascinating essays discuss indigenous languages, including Caddo, Ofo, and Timucua, and evidence for the connection between the Pre-Columbian Southeast and the Caribbean.
Five essays explore the earlier Englishes of the South, covering topics such as the eighteenth century as the key period in the differentiation of Southern American English and the use of new quantitative methods to trace the transfer of linguistic features from England to America. They examine a range of linguistic resources, such as plantation overseers’ writings, modern blues lyrics, linguistic databases, and lexical and locutional compilations that reveal the region’s distinctive dialectal traditions.
New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches widens the scope of inquiry into the linguistic influences of the African diaspora as evidenced in primary sources and records. A comprehensive essay redefines the varieties of French in Louisiana, tracing the pathway from Colonial Louisiana to the emergence of Plantation Society French in a diglossic relationship with Louisiana Creole. A further essay maps the shift from French to English in family documents.
An assortment of essays on English in the contemporary South touch on an array of compelling topics from discourse strategies to dialectal emblems of identity to stereotypes in popular perception.
Essays about recent Latino immigrants to the South bring the collection into the twenty-first century, taking into account the dramatic increase in the population of Spanish speakers and illuminating the purported role of “Spanglish,” the bilingual lives of Spanish-speaking Latinos in Mississippi, and the existence of regional Spanish dialectal diversity.
Informative and entertaining essays on the accents, dialects, and speech patterns particular to Alabama
Thomas E. Nunnally’s fascinating volume presents essays by linguists who examine with affection and curiosity the speech varieties occurring both past and present across Alabama. Taken together, the accounts in this volume offer an engaging view of the major features that characterize Alabama’s unique brand of southern English.
Written in an accessible manner for general readers and scholars alike, Speaking of Alabama includes such subjects as the special linguistic features of the Southern drawl, the “phonetic divide” between north and south Alabama, “code-switching” by African American speakers in Alabama, pejorative attitudes by Alabama speakers toward their own native speech, the influence of foreign languages on Alabama speech to the vibrant history and continuing influence of non-English languages in the state, as well as ongoing changes in Alabama’s dialects.
Adding to these studies is a foreword by Walt Wolfram and an afterword by Michael B. Montgomery, both renowned experts in southern English, which place both the methodologies and the findings of the volume into their larger contexts and point researchers to needed work ahead in Alabama, the South, and beyond. The volume also contains a number of useful appendices, including a guide to the sounds of Southern English, a glossary of linguistic terms, and online sources for further study.
Language, as presented in this collection, is never abstract but always examined in the context of its speakers’ day-to-day lives, the driving force for their communication needs and choices. Whether specialist or general reader, Alabamian or non-Alabamian, all readers will come away from these accounts with a deepened understanding of how language functions between individuals, within communities, and across regions, and will gain a new respect for the driving forces behind language variation and language change.