This page is set up to focus on the language used in the comic strip Pearls before Swine in the episodes involving the crocodiles and the zebra. The crocodiles are depicted clearly as not being very smart, and the language they use seems to be to be a blend of AAVE (or stereotypical perceptions of AAVE) but also with some elements of baby talk (/w/ substitutes for /r/, as in 'thwoo' for 'through', etc.), /d/ for 'th' ('dat' instead of 'that'), /f/ for 'th' ('mouf' for 'mouth') deletion of /l/ ('pease' for 'please') and also 'foreigner talk', i.e. lengthened 'e' vowels, as in 'beeg' for 'big', 'gud eveneengs' for 'Good evening' and so on. Also grammatical elements such as 'me' for 'I' and negation with 'no', e.g. "Me no want lecture", 'we is' for 'we are', 'you gets' (for 'you get'), 'bootifuls couch', etc.
Here are some samples of these encounters, which I downloaded from the strip's website. The plot here is that the crocodiles have moved in next door to the zebra, and wish to eat him, but wish to convince him that it is okay for this to happen, rather than just attack and devour him. Zebra resists, usually by refuting the (stupid) arguments of the crocodiles.
The longer, color episodes have been running on Sundays, usually, for the last several months, while the black and white ones appear during the week. I otherwise like the strip, since it often has interesting 'language' representations, with a number of standard characters. (Note the attempt at a kind of pig latin, used as a 'secret code' between the 'scientist' croc, which is supposed to fool the Zebra.) The main character, Rat, is the 'mastermind' of the strip (he has great plans that usually don't work out), but there is also a Pig, a Sheep, and some others. Some humans also occasionally appear; earlier on, they did not speak, but lately there have been human characters (e.g. "Charles Darwin") that do, and when they do, they speak 'standard' English. None of the animals have names--their generic animal name is their name, e.g. "Rat", "Pig", etc., although if there is more than one of a particular animal type, some may have names, e.g. one of the (male) crocodiles (seen in the beach episode above) is apparently named 'Larry.'
Gender issues: One interesting feature that has developed recently is that the female crocks, such as the one in the last strip above, speak 'standard' English, as does the juvenile crock. But the father ("Larry") only speaks the 'crock-ese' that is typical of the adult male crocks in this strip, who are invariably depicted as rather stupid. In this sense, this strip follows other comics and American sitcoms in depicting the father figure as not very bright, such that the women have to manage things and work around them and their 'endearing' foibles. There is one 'mother' in one episode named "Debbie" but she doesn't seem to be very bright. Here are some other recent strips illustrating this gender angle:
In case you're wondering, I teach a course called 'Language and Popular Culture" where students are required to write about popular conceptions of language; comic strip representations of non-standard and 'foreign' language are part of the material we examine. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/popcult/syllabus.html I have them do surveys among their contemporaries, evaluating stuff like this, and also manipulating the language sometimes to see what effect it has to replace the non-standard with something else.
Anyway, please send me your reactions to the speech of the crocs. Please do NOT reply to this list, but rather to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some of the possibilities: