Notes on Language and Contingency—Absolon the Epsilon SpecGram Vol CLXVI, No 1 Contents The Atishu Tribe—Dr. Gus Huntaight

“Pull Over That æ Too Back”
An Examination of Language Attitudes Towards Emulation
of the Trap-Bath Split in the American South

Rachael Tatman

I was fortunate to have a fascinating piece of musical linguistic commentary brought to my attention recently. It is a nuanced analysis of language attitudes in the American South towards the trap-bath split. The lyricist, an amateur linguist who wishes to remain nameless, told me that they had written the song in the late 1990’s and were shocked to see a parody of it become a minor rap hit in 2000. At the time, a legal battle would have been prohibitively expensive, particularly due to copyright laws regarding parodies. Recently, however, they decided to come forward and present their original work to the linguistic community in the hopes that it will spark new research into perceptions of fake English accents in the American South, an area they believe to be criminally understudied.

I have presented the original here. See Trina & Daddy, 2000, to observe the obvious plagiarism.

Pull Over That æ Too Back

What you saying [gɹæs] like [gɹɑ:s] for?
Man, pull that speaker over, they gotta get a ticket.

[1 - Male Speaker]
Whoop! Whoop!
Pull over that æ is too back
Whoop! Whoop!
Pull over that æ is too back

[Repeat 1 (8x)]

[Female speaker]
Trap-bath split
I’m like what?
Here we say it [ænt], not [ɑ:nt]
In this dialectal area that’s
Wrong, wr-wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
I’m not really a linguistics pro
But I know
Your f2’s getting way, way too low
Say [kɑ:f] for [kæf] and meet my elbow
No æ makes even Webster say whoa
I’ve got a good æ, no vowel space gossip
and that’s your vowel too, now fess up,
You trying to sound all classy but you blew it
And everybody who heard you knew it
You’re not English,
Just a bit foolish,
Still got your rhotics, still got your flaps
What? We know what’s up,
And here we say it [ænt], not [ɑ:nt]

[Repeat 1 (8x)]

Who’s got more æ than most speakers?
You know it’s the ideal speaker
Always hits that articulator targets
æ in slashes, æ in the brackets
Hundred percent intelligible
(Whoop! Whoop!)
Trying to be someone you’re not
Fake a dialect, you sound like a clown
    You won’t get prestige, you’re not uptown
Don’t try to fake it baby
It just makes you sound crazy
The best way to get my respect
Is to stick with your own dialect.

[Repeat 1 (4x)]

That’s [æ] in bat
That’s [ɑ] in bought
That’s [ɛ] in bet
And that’s [ʌ] in but yeah
And I’mma say what my mama told me
These are my vowels and I say ’em boldly
My æ ain’t back you got to admit that
ɑ for æ? You know I don’t to that!
I ain’t dialect prejudiced
You just use what you grew up with
Cause ain’t nothing wrong with the way you speak
It’s trying to change your vowels that’s weak
(Whoop! Whoop!)
Go back to sayin’ æ again
(Whoop! Whoop!)
Your vowels got you all ashamed
(Whoop! Whoop!)
Front, back, high and low
(Whoop! Whoop!)
Stay with the vowels you know
What’s up other talkers
Fakin’s vowel’s wacked
Representin’ for my girls with the front æ

[Repeat 1 (4x)]

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

References

Trina (Composer and Performer), & Daddy, T. (Performer). “Da Baddest Bitch.” Da Baddest Bitch. Atlantic/Slip-N-Slide Records, 2000.

Notes on Language and ContingencyAbsolon the Epsilon
The Atishu TribeDr. Gus Huntaight
SpecGram Vol CLXVI, No 1 Contents