In the previous post, I mentioned the divide between the accents of Detroit and neighboring Windsor, Ontario. There is a complicating factor, however, that I neglected to mention: African American Vernacular English (AAVE, or crudely, “Ebonics“).*
AAVE, for those who don’t know, is a dialect of English that largely derives from American Southern English, that is spoken in many Northern cities where African Americans migrated.
The majority of people in the Detroit metropolitan area probably speak with the accent I described in the last post: a derivation of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. But the majority of people in the city of Detroit itself speak AAVE. Hence, if somebody from Windsor were to walk over to Detroit, this is the accent they would most likely hear spoken on the street.
The take-home point is that not only is there a division between the English of Canada and the US, but there is often a division between the accents of the cities on the American side of the border!
I have no theory as to how this affects the Detroit English vs. Windsor English conundrum. But it’s a factor worth consideration.
*I ask linguists’ forgiveness for using the hated Ebonics misnomer in the title of this post. Alas, “African American Vernacular English” was a bit unwieldy and I hate putting acronyms in titles. But to be clear to non-linguists: “Ebonics” is NOT the preferred term.