Ellen F. Prince ellen at CENTRAL.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Tue Apr 8 00:53:06 UTC 1997

i'm a little stunned by the readiness to discount aave as the source for
this form, given that (a)it's a very well entrenched high frequency form
in aave from the atlantic to the pacific, (b)it has *precisely* the aspectual
meaning in aave that was attributed to the original token, (c)it certainly
has never been a well-known feature of any white dialect, to my knowledge,
and (d)i've never heard that children's regularizations of irregular verbs
were accompanied by precise semantic differentiations. in fact, the original
token, as i recall, suggests strongly that we are NOT dealing with children's
regularization since the first clause had the copula in all its irregular
glory, n'est-ce pas? (i no longer have the msg so i may be misremembering
it, but i thought the two copulas contrasted aspectually, i.e. what john
myhill was talking about as 'focus'.)

the argument that the speaker has no contact with aave is pretty strange,
considering the number of aave lexical items that have entered the language
at large, from _jazz_ to _cool_ and zillions of others. more striking to
me is that one now sees the sort of logo graffiti born in the black ghettos
of this country all over the world, where the local graffiti artists --
apparently young working-class or poverty-class males -- certainly never saw
the 'real thing'. (not your junior-year-abroad types, to be sure.) but they
see it in movies and tv shows -- where they also hear (some version of)
aave. and it's high-prestige, folks. so if young german kids in some rural
area near poland and young ethnic turks in a suburb of stockholm can
borrow the graffiti style of bed-stuy and watts, then surely a child in oregon
can borrow a lexical item from them. no?

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