He'p! Adverbials w/AAVE stressed BEEN?

Mai Kuha mkuha at BSUVC.BSU.EDU
Mon Feb 28 12:55:16 UTC 2000

On Thu, 24 Feb 2000 P2052 at aol.com wrote:

> I agree with Rickford.  Stressed been [BIN] inherently connotes duration;
> thus, including a time adverbial would only render a construction that is
> redundant.  In the examples cited, You BEEN paid your dues a long time ago"
> and "I BEEN known him a long time,"  In the first instance, "You BEEN paid
> your dues," should suffice for rendering the meaning, "You paid your dues a

Thanks for the feedback. It's comforting to have evidence of common
ground. I think both sources agree on this point, but Rickford's claim is
that the adverbial does NOT occur with stressed been, not just that it's

> long time ago."  I strongly suspect that, at least in the second instance,
> the informant is actually saying, "I [been/bin]  know[ing] him a long time.

With unstressed been? That would remove the contradiction, but W. & S-E
explicitly present the two sentences as examples of stressed been.

> The monopthongization of the word knowing would make it homonymous with known.

My reading of Rickford was that time adverbials cannot occur with any
instance of stressed been, though, whether the verb following is in the
progressive or not, stative or not.

Maybe this has to do with how difficult it is supposed to be to hear the
difference between stressed and unstressed been. For now, I decided simply
not to mention this detail in my grammar class, which is what I needed the
info for. (Students seem to find AAVE expressions coming from me mighty
humorous, so I definitely don't want to add inaccuracies into the mix.)
Any further comments welcome!


Mai Kuha                  mkuha at bsuvc.bsu.edu
Department of English     (765) 285-8410
Ball State University

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