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.