BE arrives at the Boston Globe?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Sep 29 14:36:13 UTC 2009

At 9/29/2009 09:54 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 9:04 PM -0800 9/28/09, David Bowie wrote:
>>From:    "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>>I am amused by what I suppose is a writer's careless editing of his
>>>own sentence that brings AAVE to the sports pages of the Boston Globe
>>>(and I don't mean in quotations).  The "Sports Log" column, speaking
>>>of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin's season-ending knee injury,
>>>says "An MRI done revealed that Griffin has 'an isolated tear' in his
>>>anterior cruciate ligament."
>>Recognizing Tony Au's point that this might not be completive 'done',
>>even if it is it might not be AAVE--it exists in Southern White
>>Englishes as well, including my own.
>I agree with Tony on this; note that an inserted "yesterday" just
>after "done" removes any possible misinterpretation ("An MRI done
>yesterday revealed that...").

But "yesterday" is *not* in the original, which is "An MRI done
revealed that Griffin has 'an isolated tear' in his
anterior cruciate ligament."

This is exactly to my comment -- perhaps from the writer's
unintentionally omitting "yesterday", or from his not writing "An MRI
done *on Griffin* revealed that he has ...", the result looks like
AAVE.  (In my dialect, in this sentence "done" requires a -- what
would it be called? -- prepositional object.)

That "Southern White Englishe[r]s" also may use the same construction
does not invalidate the possibility that the writer is speaking AAVE
-- it merely adds another possibility.  But I think a writer's error
is much more likely; I was not claiming that the sentence was AAVE,
merely that an error made it appear to be.


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