BMW   Saturday, November 27, 2004, 05:44 GMT
Why is the word "sisters" sometimes written as "sistas"?
mjd   Saturday, November 27, 2004, 07:01 GMT
In AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) or Ebonics, the word "sisters" can sound like "sistas." Listen to some rap, r&b or soul and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Jim   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 06:13 GMT
"Sistas" looks like it could be /sist@s/. Is this how the pronounce "sisters"? Of course, if you realise that the final "s" is to make a plural, then you've got a different situation. Then it would be "sista" + "-s". Now, you don't have to speak African-American Vernacular English for "sister" and "sista" to be pronounced the same. I'd pronounce "sista" as /sist../. This is exactly how I pronounce "sister". I'm not African-American but European-Australian (though we don't call ourselves that).
Tiffany   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 06:37 GMT
Listen to the latest version of the song "Moulin Rouge" by Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya and Pink. You'll hear clearly that they say "Hey sistas...better get that dough sistas." I believe this is actually drawn from the southern accent were the final "er" of a word tends to come out as "ah". This is also part of ebonics as many black african slaves were from the south.
Brennus   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 08:17 GMT

Dear Tiffany,

I agree with you totally. I would just like to add that final r began disappearing in British English in the late 18th century. American Colonists living on much of the east coast were affected by this change because they came into contact with British ships and administrators regularly.

Americans living further inland in what is now West Virginia and Ohio were unaffected by this change. They continued pronouncing their final -r's. New England R-less English was the standard for the U.S. before World War II and we can still hear it in the movies and newsreels from that era. After World War II the U.S. standard became Midwestern American English where the final -r is pronounced.

The American South was one of the last regions in North America that the British colonized (mostly with prisoners). The northern colonies and even the Canadian Hudson's Bay Company were established more than a century earlier in the 17th century. So it's not surprising that the strongest British English influences would have been in the South. Take care!

--- Brennus
Tiffany   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 17:20 GMT
Brennus - are you sure about that? I have a hard time believing the south was colonized in the 18th century as the civil war began in 1860 - that's still the 17th century.

"The northern colonies and even the Canadian Hudson's Bay Company were established more than a century earlier in the 17th century."

"On September 5, 1774, 55 colonial delegates from every colony except Georgia met in Philadelphia at the First Continental Congress. This patriot-driven Congress voted that the colonists did not owe obedience to Britain or the Coercive Acts, and refused to do trade with Britain or its loyalists ( known as "Tories")."

It seems they all voted to separate from Britain at the same time. However, I wish I knew WHAT colonies they spoke of. Perhaps you are on to something about later colonization of the south because the US did not purchase the Louisiana territory till 1803, but then I believe France, not Britain, owned that. And I'm not sure if most of the South was bundled in the Louisiana purchase or not.
Jacob   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 18:40 GMT
18th century = 1700s.
19th century = 1800s.
20th century = 1900s.

Et c.
Tiffany   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 19:12 GMT
Ah, shoot. Brennus, please disregard what I have said. Jacob, thank you for the correction. I knew it was one off, but I got it the other way around.
Brennus   Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 22:26 GMT

Dear Tiffany,

Of course Jacob is right about the names of centuries but I don't blame you for answering back. I was a little ambiguous in my previous post. I was trying to save space (i.e. bandwidth). Actually Jamestown, Virginia was founded by the English in 1607 but what I meant was that most of the South was unsettled until the 1730's when the Oglethorp prison colony was founded in Georgia and large numbers of Scotts began settling in the Carolinas. The 16 and 1700's were tumultuous times in England. During the time between the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and James Olglethorp's settlement of Georgia, English society changed and the English language changed along with it. This is the main reason why Southerners (Black and White) sound different than Northerners although there could be some other things nobody knows about at work here too. For example, there is some recent research which indicates that people hear differently and that this influences the way they speak.