He'p! Adverbials w/AAVE stressed BEEN?

P2052 at AOL.COM P2052 at AOL.COM
Mon Feb 28 17:13:28 UTC 2000

This practice of using time adverbials with stressed been (BIN) is a
relatively need.  I've this pattern only within the past year or so (and
relatively infrequently [only a few times])   My initial reaction was that
the pattern was idiolectal.  However, after two or three other "slips" of
this kind, I began to rethink my initial theory.  I thought, "Could the scope
of stressed been possibly be narrowing to the point that it must co-occur
with a time adverbial in order to capture what historically it has done so
well alone?"  I also entertained the idea that maybe the scope of stressed
been has not been diminished--that instead,  the time adverbial is added to
broaden the scope even more (streseed been alone = distant past; stressed
been + time adverbial = more distant/remote past [even further back in
time]).   This pattern could also represent a step toward decreolization.
Anyway, I guess the best thing to do at this point is to wait for, or try to
elicit,  further evidence of the various contexts in which stressed been

As per my earlier point, since efficiency is a primary characteristic of
AAVE, and since the pattern, stressed BIN + a time adverbial is redundant,
(traditional) basi- and mesolectal AAVE speakers would, most likely, avoid
such a pattern.  As one who grew up speaking/hearing AAVE, I provide the
following analysis.
                a.  I BIN sick.
                b.  *I BIN sick a long time ago.
                c.   I BIN left town.
                d. ?I BIN left town a long time ago.
This analysis suggests that, at least for me, the time adverbial is
minimallly acceptable with an action (used, possibly, to emphasize the
initiation of the action [See example d), yet, as b indicates, unacceptable
with a stative predicate (i.e. not used to emphasize the onset of the state.)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list