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    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 12
    #1

    AAE Habitual B

    Here is an exercise which confuses me a bit:

    African American English (AAE) distinguishes two instances of be: so-called habitual be, the focus of this exercise, and ordinary be. Both types of be can be used as main verbs or auxiliaries. We pose the exercise after describing the semantic and morphological differences between the two types of be. The data are based on Green 1998.

    It is used to describe situations that are generally true:

    a. Main verb The coffee be nasty at that joint.
    'The coffee is always/usually bad at that place.'
    b. Auxiliary The baby be sleeping when they call.
    'The baby is always/usually sleeping/asleep when they call.'

    The two types of be also differ morphologically, as shown in (3).
    Code:
    (3)		Ordinary be         	Habitual be
    I	                  am	             be
    you	                   is	              "
    he/she/it	             "         	      "
    we	                     "                "
    y'all	                     "  	      "
    they	                     "  	      "

    okay I'll have to guess what the emphatic, negated, and interrogative versions of the sentences in boldface are. (Assume that the grammars of AAE and standard English are identical unless you are forced to assume the contrary by the facts in (1)-(4).)
    Assume that AAE, unlike standard English, doesn't have person agreement in the present. In other words, AAE has I, he played; I, he play; I, he did; I, he do.

    The coffee be nasty at that joint.
    EMPHATIC: ????
    NEGATE: The coffee be not nasty at that joint.
    INTERROGATIVE: Be the coffee nasty at that joint?

    The baby be sleeping when they call.
    EMPHATIC: ???
    NEGATE: The baby be not sleeping when they call.
    INTERROGATIVE: Be the baby sleeping when they call?

    Question 1: Are my negate and interrogative sentences correct?
    question 2: How do I make a emphatic sentence? I know that in the absence of an auxiliary, the verb "do" is used but how does it work here?


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 12
    #2

    i beg you!

    I wouldn't have expected so little help. Anyone, please! I don't know no-one to send a message about it. There is no difference about the answer after tomorrow because I have a test unluckily.

  1. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
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    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,695
    #3

    Re: i beg you!

    Quote Originally Posted by learning3nglish View Post
    I wouldn't have expected so little help. Anyone, please! I don't know no-one to send a message about it. There is no difference about the answer after tomorrow because I have a test unluckily.
    I'm not a native speaker of English, so...
    I'm afraid it's too difficult for me(at least) to answer.
    I'm interested in this, though.
    I hope somebody else can help you out.....soon.
    What's your guess, by the way? Somebody might respond to your guess, I think.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #4

    Re: AAE Habitual B

    I am not expert in AAE, but using "do" to make the emphatic seems fine:

    The coffee do be nasty at that joint

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