We is

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Sat Jan 22 00:21:16 UTC 2005

On Jan 21, 2005, at 4:36 PM, James A. Landau wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      We is
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> For the last two weeks I have been in a class with an African-American
> woman
> who habitually says "We is".  Her speech is at most
> lightly-AAVE-flavored
> which makes this particular usage stand out (she also says "he don't"
> but so do a
> lot of Anglos).
> Is "we is" a typical feature of AAVE or a personal idiosyncracy of this
> particular speaker?
>      - Jim Landau

For me, it's hard to say. I personally don't use "we is" under any
circumstances. Rather, I'm not conscious of using it, in any case.
However, its use by other speakers is so common that hearing "we is"
wouldn't get my attention. So, if I had to make a decision, I'd say
that it was typical, at least of some registers/subdialects. It's not a
speech defect that would be peculiar to a particular speaker.

BTW, why is it that an Anglo can be only of the white race, whereas a
Latino "can be of any race?" Doesn't that strike anyone else as a
little strange, given that its original meaning in American Spanish was
something like, "anyone whose first language is English"?

-Wilson Gray

More information about the Ads-l mailing list