BE "been VERB NP"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 2 00:46:07 UTC 2006

Thanks for the info, Beverly. Now, the only mystery is why it is that
John R is familiar only with the type "BEEN know," whereas I'm
familiar only with the type "BEEN knowin'." Maybe it has to do with my
having grown up in St. Louis, which has a well-known rep as a dialect

And I'm glad to hear that the construction is still alive and kicking,
whether with or without the -in'!


On 7/1/06, Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: BE "been VERB NP"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> It's John and Angela Rickford, in a joint article from the late '70s?  But
> Labov discusses it too, in "Is BEV a Separate Language?" (maybe not the
> exact title); it's also in the _Language in the Inner City_ volume
> (1972).  They don't cite BEEN + past tense (or past participle) though.  I
> tested it on a black student this spring, and he knew the difference the
> stress on 'been' made in meaning.
> At 07:37 PM 6/30/2006, you wrote:
> >Is it John Rickford or John Baugh who owns this construction? I've
> >lost track, over the years. In any case, whichever John it is has such
> >command over it that this is the first time that I've gone public with
> >the fact that, except for John's examples, I have *never* heard, e.g.
> >"I BEEN _know_ that." I'm personally familiar only with "I BEEN
> >_knowing_ that" or even simply, "knowing this." Today, on one of the
> >"Judge" shows, I heard, for the first time, a black speaker - or a
> >speaker of any other race, creed, color, or sexual orientation, for
> >that matter - say, "She BEEN _knew_ that."
> >
> >-Wilson Gray
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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