"He BE working. He just don't STAY working."

Salikoko Mufwene s-mufwene at UCHICAGO.EDU
Fri Feb 8 04:27:20 UTC 2013

On 2/7/2013 9:27 PM, Benjamin Torbert wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 8:56 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:
>> I thought the caps were to indicate contrastive focal stress. There's
>> another verbal marker in AAE/BE, "BIN" (for remote past), that is always
>> capitalized because (according to a presentation on it I just heard today
>> by one of our grad students who will be posting it as a page on the Yale
>> Grammatical Diversity site soon) it always gets focal stress.
>> LH
> This makes sense.  And here, the difference in focal stress is because of
> the contrast of BE working and STAY working.  Which is the point of the
> whole statement.
I'm not sure that this BE for repeated states of affairs (different from
a simple habitual) is always stressed, unlike the "remote phase BIN,"
although in Wilson's example it had to be stressed, to highlight the
contrast with STAY as another continuative marker. I read the example as
highlighting the semantic difference between the two markers, which are
not synonymous.


Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College
Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
Professor, Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science
University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
Department of Linguistics
1010 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637, USA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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