Tense in BE

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed May 30 12:22:15 UTC 2007

I've heard "I've *been* knowin' that!" from younger white speakers in East Tennessee, though only one or two of them.

Have we ever discussed the (formerly?) regional use of the present progressive for the simple present in certain verbs that traditionally don't use it?

E.g., the current MacDonald's slogan, "I'm lovin' it!" instead of SE "I love it!"

East Tennesseans were saying "I'm lovin' it/ this!" at least thirty years ago.  It still sounds weird to me.


Dennis Preston <preston at MSU.EDU> wrote: ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society
Poster:       Dennis Preston

Subject:      Re: Tense in BE


I remember quite distinctly "I BEEN knowing this" (with remotive
stressed BEEN) from Black speakers (Louisville area) from some time
ago (50s). As I recall, however, the context was "Why are you telling
me what I've known for a long time?" The remotive plus progressive is
not at all rare, and this could be the source for the "knowing this"
for you cite, but in your memory it seems to be a simple agreement
marker while I remember it as a slightly annoyed response to old news.

I know; this breaks Preston's law of sociolinguistics #2. But since
both my laws are broken daily here, I can't resist.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society
>Poster:       Margaret Lee
>Subject:      Re: Tense in BE
>Wilson Gray  wrote:    When I was stationed in
>Berlin ca.1961, I used to hear some black GI's
>say "knowin' this" instead of "fuckin' A" or "I'm hip." At the time, I
>figured that this was local slang brought from home, wherever that
>And the cool way to say it was with the stress on the first
>syllable, "know' in this," used to indicate that you agree with what
>someone has just said.
>   Margaret
>Park yourself in front of a world of choices in alternative vehicles.
>Visit the Yahoo! Auto Green Center.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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