Sunday, June 17, 2007

Clarence Thomas a Gullah speaker?

Today's NYT Book Review has a long review by Orlando Patterson of Supreme Discomfort, the new biography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, by Kevin Merida & Michael Fletcher. It's a pretty depressing read — just like the interviews I've heard with the authors and the other review(s) I've seen — and I won't be reading the book.

But Patterson mentions that Thomas grew up speaking Gullah, "a genuinely Afro-English creole", and was mocked for "his 'Geechee' accent" when he moved to Savannah. I immediately wondered if there was some confusion there between what's sometimes called 'country' or 'backcountry' African-American speech and Gullah, but Thomas at least has claimed that it was the latter, see here (you have to scroll down or search for 'Gullah' to see it).

No comments: