copula deletion and BEV

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Jan 25 13:52:38 UTC 2007

Early this morning I drove my wife to the Atlanta airport; approaching the terminal, I distinctly heard myself inquire (in WEV), "You taking Delta or AirTran?" Of course, in writing I wouldn't delete the copula in such a sentence, and the copula seems easier to delete in questions, and possibly in second-person constructions ("You gonna eat that?"). Still, I definitely deleted it!


>>Date:    Tue, 23 Jan 2007 12:23:09 -0500
>>From:    Michael H Covarrubias <mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU>
>>Subject: Re: a dialect using just participle?
>>It looks like copula deletion.  Labov claimed this feature was an important community marker of Black English Vernacular.
>>Quoting Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>:

>>  > Now, finally, I'm reading the handbook (Longman Writer's Companion) and in their discussion of the progressive & perfect tenses they identify as a dialect example this:
>>>  The interview starting five minutes late.

>>>  (They analyze it as omitting _is_ in _is starting_.)
>>>  I've never run across this dialectical variant. Now I feel really stupid for thinking that my student was stupid.

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