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at the hands of Americans": The American (English) Language The English that was brought to America in seventeenth century was, of course, the language--or versions of the language--of Early Modern England. The year of the Captain John Smith's founding of Jamestown (1607) coincides roughly with Shakespeare's writing of Timon of Athens and Pericles, and the King James Bible (the "Authorized Version") was published only four years later, in 1611. It was not long before writers on both sides of the Atlantic began to acknowledge the language's divergence. As early as the mid-seventeenth century, Samuel Johnson, in a review of Lewis Evans's "Geographical, Historical, Political, Philosophical, and Mechanical Essays," pays the [American] writer's language a backhanded compliment: This treatise is written with such elegance as the subject admits, tho' not without some mixture of the American dialect, a tract ["trace"] of corruption to which every language widely diffused must always be exposed. (In the World, No. 102, Dec. 12, 1754; quoted by Mencken 4) Johnson's assessment was mild compared to that of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who asserted in 1822 that "the Americans presented the extraordinary anomaly of a people without a language. That they had mistaken the English language for baggage (which is called plunder in America), and had stolen it" (quoted in Mencken 28). Noah Webster attributed some of the marked features of New England speech to a conservatism engendered by the relative isolation, vis à vis the rest of the world, of the colonists, stating that New Englanders (of which he was one): have been sequestered in some measure from the world, and their language has not suffered material changes from their first settlement to the present time. Hence most of the phrases used by Shakespear, Congreve, and other writers who have described English manners and recorded the language of all classes of people, are still heard in the common discourse of the New England yeomanry. (Dissertation on the English Language 384-85, quoted in Dillard 323) Three stages of settlement and influence can be discerned:
especially where Spanish-speakers are nearing majority status. especially in the Pacific Coast states. S. French.1. parts of Texas. and along with it an expressed desire for a distinct linguistic identity. Hawaii has English and Hawaiian established as official languages. large numbers of Spanish-speaking immigrants have come to the U. The period of European immigration to the U. 2. and Arizona. Latin America. The Louisiana Purchase and the consequent expansion westward. 2 . and Cuba. is the passage of "English Only" or "Official English" laws. Since the 1960s and the War in Vietnam. More Recent influences Since the mid-twentieth century. 3. many settling in the formerly Spanish-speaking states of California. Puerto Rico. the English language is established in America (along with Dutch. large numbers of Indo-Chinese immigrants have arrived. that is arguably the region where the greatest linguistic impact of immigration was also felt (see Carver 967). New Mexico. after the Civil War marks the next stage of large-scale linguistic infusions. The American Revolution creates a separate political identity.S. Since the vast majority of these immigrants settled in the North. accelerated by the discovery of gold in California contribute to linguistic intermingling and dialect leveling in the West. twenty-two states have adopted such laws and three others have Official English laws of somewhat different status: Louisiana has required records to be kept in English since 1811. Beginning with the English settlement of Jamestown in 1607 and the landing of the Puritans in Massachusetts in 1620 (though the Pilgrims encountered Native Americans who were already speaking a pidgin English: Dillard 9ff. and English was accorded official status by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts. One consequence of recent immigration. and other tongues).). from Mexico. An issue that transcends periodization is the language that results from the forced immigration of slaves from Africa: Black Vernacular English/African-American English/Ebonics. German. At present (1999).
000 Dutch settlers were living there. indentured servants. Scots-Irish. royalists. then. the Connecticut River is an important regional dialect boundary. The region attracted a variety of social outcasts of one kind or another: criminals. Welsh. Religious dissenters from the Massachusetts Bay Colony found the Rhode Island Colony in 1638. Pennsylvania was settled by a mix of English. One kind of argument for the distinctive character of Southern speech. religious and political refugees from France (Huguenots/Calvinists). and inland. is that it was peopled by inhabitants from the "fringes" of the British insular domain. Southern o Virginia was the first area to be settled in the South Atlantic States. After the Puritans settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1620.Early American English The greatest linguistic influence results from first period of immigration and the establishment of the settlements of the original thirteen colonies: Northern o New England was first settled by English speakers between 1620-1640. when fewer than 10. From Philadelphia. but the colony was seized by the British in 1664. settling extensively in the Appalachians. Even today. a second settlement center is established in 1635 in the Lower Connecticut River Valley (on the western side of the river). o The Mid-Atlantic States: New York was first settled by the Dutch in 1614. Scots-Irish immigrants spread westward. those with less standardized pronunciations and usages. and the Narragansett Bay area forms another distinctive dialect subregion. and Germans (the Pennsylvania "Dutch"). separating the r-less dialect of Boston from the more r-ful dialects in western New England. Black English is increasingly regarded as another influence on the 3 . and Puritans from England. perhaps. and thus. Scots-Irish. and Germans.
the grandeur. & may light of the world with new ideas bright as the sun. (British Museum. from time to time elect new members & thereby be made perpetual. thro' every future period of its existence. enrich and refine it. is perhaps reserved for this land of light and freedom.development of Southern speech (see especially Dillard's chapter on "The Development of Southern"). when established. passing through the improving tongues of our rising prosperity. consisting of members in each university and seminary. but its highest perfection. may surpass all the sons of science who have shone in past ages. and arbour [sic] for glory. so too did perception of language differences. I conceive that such a society might easily be established. 186. That a society for this purpose should be formed. their advantages for polishing their language will be great. Class 5. In January 1774. It is perhaps impossible for us to form an idea of the perfection. and consequently American would make swifter advances to the summit of learning. until perfection stops their progress and ends their labour. to which our language may arrive in the progress of time. whose aspiring minds. viz. p. quoted in Mathews 40-41) 4 . and anonymous writer (possibly John Adams) issued a proposal in the Royal American Magazine for a national academy: The English language has been greatly improved in Britain within a century. correct. As the people through this extensive country will speak English. and vastly superior to what the people of England ever enjoyed. Colonial Office Records. the beauty. Volume 938 . & sublimity. Linguistic Nationalism As perception of the country as a nation separate from England grew. fired by our example. and that great advantages would thereby accrue to science. who shall be stiled Fellows of the American Society of Language: That the society. with every other branch of human knowledge. I beg leave to propose a plan for perfecting the English language in America. And that the society annually publish some observations upon the language and from year to year. The language variations that develop from these broad early influences will be examined in more detail below.
yet the government have never found time to interpose in any manner.A few years later (September 5. The reason of this is obvious. and ascertaining the English language. improving. nor their great success. so that this day there is no grammar nor dictionary extant of the English language which has the least public authority. English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the last or French is in the present age. and French has been substituted in its place. according to present appearances. and the conversation of strangers and travellers. that a tolerable dictionary has been published. But it is very remarkable. improving and ascertaining the English language": Most of the nations of Europe have thought it necessary to establish by public authority institutions for fixing and improving their proper languages. it is not probable that it will. they have every motive that can possibly influence a public assembly to undertake it. John Adams wrote to the president of Congress from Amsterdam proposing that Congress establish an "American Academy for correcting. was generally carried on in that dead language. It will have a happy effect upon the union of the States to have a public standard for all persons in every part of the continent to appeal to.[sic] was the universal language of Europe. and the principal means of advancement through the ranks and offices of society. In the last century Latin. Correspondence among the learned. The constitutions of all the States in the Union are so democratical that eloquence will become the instrument for recommending men to their fellow-citizens. Spain. In the present century. Latin has been generally laid aside. 1780). but has not yet become universally established. and there is not yet a passable grammar enterprised by any individual. aided by the influence of England and the world. I hope is reserved for congress. correcting. both for the signification and pronunciation of the language. their learned labors. The honor of forming the first public institution for refining. and. that although many learned and ingenious men in England have from age to age projected similar institutions for correcting and improving the English tongue. whether great or small. I need not mention the academies in France. and it is only very lately. and Italy. and their universal connection and correspondence with all nations will. and indeed among merchants and men of business. even by a private person. because the increasing population in America. 5 .
squash (< asquutas quash). (The Words of John Adams. and savannah. quoted in Mathews 7-8) Vocabulary/Lexicon An early factor in the evolution of American English was the need to name unfamiliar features of the landscape. Other words derived from Native American languages include: caucus (possibly from Algonkin cau'-cau-as'u. pecan. moccasin. moose. hominy. muskrat (< muskwes su). cannibal.force their language into general use. pone. tomato (<Nahuatl tomatl). persimmon. in trying to transcribe the Algonquian word meaning "he scratches with his hands"--arakun-. This is the source of our now-familiar word. in spite of all the obstacles that may be thrown in their way. opossum. hickory (< pohickery). Although it enters the language somewhat later (ca. and Central and South American. and woodchuck (< otchek).wrote rahougcum (1608). skunk. The word "Amercanism" has been in use since after the Revolution to refer disparagingly to words or usages of supposed American origin. John Witherspoon. but often difficult (for English speakers) vocabulary of the Native Americans. powwow.. who spelled it "Caw- cawaassough").by His Grandson. "a raised platform of sticks"). and fauna of the New World. papoose. first president of Princeton University (then known as the College of New Jersey).succotash (from Narragansett msiquatash). squaw. maize (<Ar awak marisi). wigwam. the word coyote also derives from the Nahuatl word coyotl (via Spanish). if any such there should be. raccoon. flora. totem. canoe (<Arawak canoa). had provided forms that became the English words barbecue(<Arawak barbacoa. encountering Native Americans in the West Indies.. One source for such words was the rich. Captain John Smith. claims the credit for coining the term and details its signification: 6 . 1852).. Charles Francis Adams (Boston. toboggan. Earlier Spanish and Portuguese explorers. terrapin.. Mexico. 7: 249ff. Second President of the United States. chocolate (<Nahuatl chocolátl). potato. used by Captain John Smith. 1825). tomahawk.
we beseech you. which I have coined for the purpose. even among persons of rank and education." 7 ." Thomas Jefferson was taken to task ("belittled") by the European Magazine and London Review in 1787 for his coinage and use of the verb to belittle in his "Notes on the State of Viriginia": Belittle! What an expression! It may be an elegant one in Virginia. nay. impotent as they are illiberal." no. from a man's using these. as "a metaphor for angry. which he regarded as a redundancy. and indeed any thing either in construction. it does not follow in every case. our manners are rude?--Freely. pronunciation or accentuation. and some in which every person who has the least taste as to the propriety or purity of a language in general. The word Americanism.. yet speakers and writers must conform to custom. or his discourse upon the whole inelegant.. and representing it as little better than a land of barbarism--why. but merely that they are of American and not of English growth. that the terms or phrases used are worse in themselves. Among the usages identified by Witherspoon as "Americanisms" are the use of either to refer to "one or the other of two". and even perfectly intelligible. ( "The Druid. upon our national character. By the word Scotticism is understood any term or phrase.. after trampling upon the honour or our country. or the construction of similar sentences in Great-Britain. our mother-tongue! (Quoted in Mencken 14). we say. Jefferson! Why. There are many instances in which the Scotch way is as good. or a construction of sentences. that he is ignorant. but for our part. It does not follow. from your description. perpetually trample also upon the very grammar of our language. 5. different from the use of the same terms or phrases. and make that appear as Gothic as. by which I understand an use of the phrases or terms.Americanisms. that is peculiar to North-Britain. is exactly similar in its formation and signification to the word Scotticism. all we can do is to guess at its meaning. notify to mean "inform". Mr. will we forgive all your attacks. good sir. reprinted in Mathews 17). 1781. May 9. A humorous view of the current divide between British and American usages is provided at the Web site "Britspeak. must confess that it is better than that of England. For shame. but for the future spare--O spare. mad. fellow countrymen.
though at points in his career he did succumb. selling more than 2 million copies. and 1785 as A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. Noah Webster (1758-1843) was descended from John Webster. Thus he abandoned the law and entered a more lucrative occupation. Murray's work borrowed from Priestly's grammar. The speller. Webster was a fierce advocate of copyright legislation. Murray's grammar was first printed in America in Boston in 1800 and went through more than 100 editions. Murray had attended Franklin's Academy as a boy in Philadelphia. providing Webster with sufficient income to turn his attention entirely to linguistic concerns. Published in York in 1795. Adapted to the Different Classes of Learners. and reader. In a passage that simultaneously illustrates the alteration of his views and underscores his disdain for grammarians too much influenced by Latin. but accepted it in the 1789 Dissertations. governor of the Plymouth Colony. After he graduated from Yale in 1778. published in 1783. 1784. as a school teacher! Dissatisfied with available textbooks. he produced his own speller. an American expatriate living in England. all but cornered the market during first quarter of eighteenth century with his English Grammar. if only temporarily. He emigrated to England where with a small fortune he began a forty-year convalescence. grammar.) Webster's rhetoric is generally that of a descriptivist. to the siren song of prescription. Campbell's rhetoric. and William Bradford. He had condemned the use of who in Who did you marry? when writing the Grammatical Institute (1784). In adulthood. he wrote that Whom do you speak to? was 8 . and Lowth's grammar (sometimes copying Lowth verbatim) and relied heavily on teaching by showing incorrect examples (false syntax).English Grammar in the New World: Usage Debates and Dictionary Wars Lindley Murray (1745-1826). one who bases his claims on observations of usage rather than on the analogy of the grammatical structures of Latin. Finegan tells the story of Webster's changing views on who/whom: Webster's growing familiarity with educated practice modified his views. governor of Connecticut. during which he tutored the headmistress of a nearby school in grammar and was persuaded to write a grammar. though admitted to the bar. (Perhaps not surprisingly. he studied law and. failed to attract a sufficient clientele. he became ill and was forced to give up his lucrative law practice. The American Spelling Book sold more than 80 million copies in 100 years.
. But even these innovations constituted a compromise. honour) to -or. Webster argued. as I can find.g. ile (for aisle).. A had Compendious the Dictionary of the English spellings Language (1806). and if so. at the age of 70. At any rate. His first dictionary." He thought only who had been used in asking questions "until some Latin student began to suspect it bad English. 25)."never used in speaking. In 1828. included simplified "ake. crum. in his "Essay on a Reformed Mode of Spelling" (an appendix to the Dissertations). The introduction of you were in the singular was a good example of the silly overrefinement of late-eighteenth-century linguists" (77. medicin. and all the grammars that can be formed will not extend the use of the phrase byond the walls of a college" (Dissertations. ( Finegan 41) He also took Lowth and Murray to task for stigmatizing you was (singular). he had also spelled boil (a tumor) as bile (Krapp 344). fether. whomdo you speak to? is a corruption. determin. examin. wether" (Mathews 45). theatre) to -re. colour. in. he had advocated "doctrin. yet he had not succeeded in making it as distinctive as he had once hoped to. honor. p. it is hardly English at all. Cmiel paraphrases Webster's views on this point: "It was not a solecism. theater. His stated aim was to show the distinctiveness of American English.g. Webster also argued against the importance of preserving the few remaining inflections in English (pace Lowth and others:Finegan 43). disciplin. In the 1806 dictionary. 9 . and opak" (Finegan 44). citing Webster's A Letter to the Honorable John Pickering  and Philosophical and Practical Grammar . iland. the our spellings (e. centre. and the -respellings (inherited from French. 286-287). Webster published An American Dictionary of the English Language in two quarto volumes. magick) to -c. because not agreeable to the Latin rules. These include the simplification of the word-final -ck spellings (as in musick. pp. e. Many of the reforms introduced in the American Dictionary did succeed and today constitute the primary differences between British and American spelling.
colorful line of the very usages he hoped to annihilate" (57). initiate. he was earlier an articulate advocate for something like tolerance of regional variations in pronunciation: Not to mention small differences. jeopardize. the language in the middle States is tinctured with a 10 .") As a reaction to the Third. standpoint. the publication of Webster's Third International Dictionary by the Merriam Company (who had bought the remaining copies of the second edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language. including the American Heritage Dictionary. 94). Brown's moralistic prescriptivism is perhaps best revealed in his assertion that "The grammatical use of language is in sweet alliance with the moral" (1851. Pronunciation Though Webster was to change his mind by the end of his life. Among the words he condemned were: donate.. gubernatorial." and "obscene. and the Oxford American Dictionary. from Webster's heirs when he died in 1843) was greeted by deluge of reviews." "vulgar. conversati onalist. and the provision of variant spellings. On the other hand. and reliable (Finegan 70). the Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage. lack of capitalization (only God is capitalized). p. Brown frustrated part of his own design by parading before his readers a long. presidential. Words and Their Uses went through thirty-three editions in thirty years and was still in copyright as late as 1927.The Prescriptivist/Descriptivist controversy continues. (There are in fact words labeled as "slang. In 1961. author of Words and Their Uses (1870) and Every-Day English (1880).. written largely by people who had not seen the dictionary. photographer. resurrect. pants. a new wave of prescriptive dictionaries hit the market. Finegan observes that. Richard Grant White. ironically. criticizing the absence of usage labels.practitioner. absence of an authoritative (i. "more than any other grammarian. Goold Brown published The Grammar of English Grammars in 1851. and the rights to publication of subsequent revisions." "nonstandard.e. one correct) pronunciation. I would observe that the inhabitants of NewEngland and Virginia have a peculiar pronunciation which affords much diversion to their neighbours. did not believe that Americans had right to establish their own standard. shamefaced.
and neither is supported by any superior excellence. as also duty. usus est Norma Loquendi. each is authorized by local custom. etc. Eastern New England: Parts of Massachusetts. into vine. 6. drawling pronunciation. The speech of this region is characterized by the retention of rounded vowel in words like "hot" and "top". If in New-England we hear a flat. including the following: 1. contrary to all rules and propriety. and in a rapid pronunciation these become virchue. while in England the pronunciation has followed the pattern of the vowel shift to the diphthong [aI]. as in "fight. are changed into juty. the loss of r in car (Boston is the "focal area" of this dialect). It is the present mode at the Southward.. 1783. Vermont. in the Southern States we hear the etc. vinter. and Southern colonies. American speech maintained features of seventeenth.and eighteenth-century English--such as the preservation of r in most dialects. to pronounce u like yu. The truth is.. In England the flat a became a "broad a" [a]: the sound in "father. and every deviation from this must be wrong. forchune.variety of Irish. Mid-Atlantic. very.. soft becomessaft. as in virtyue. woond. duel." Since the initial settlements in the Northern.e. fortyune. juel. quoted in Krapp 11) Dialects American English is regarded as having preserved archaic features which have since been altered in British English--i. vulgar pronounced weal. Part 1. 11 .e. winter. other distinctive variations in American speech have evolved. wery. Connecticut. and raisins and wound.. and "flat a" [æ] as in "path": features that were lost in southern England at the end of the eighteenth century. Scotch and German dialects which are justly censured as deviations from propriety and the standard of elegant pronunciation. wulgar. (Grammatical Institute." Americans generally pronounce either and neither with [i] vowel (as in "bean"). the use of "broad a" [a] in words like "fast" and "path" (i. The dialect of one State is as ridiculous as that of another. p. changed words veal. are pronounced reesins. wine. general custom is the rule of speaking. the vowel sound in father).
4. "short" e (as in "pest") in "care. the sound in "father") in words like "forehead. the sound at the beginning of "the" as contrasted with "thin"). 3. "warsh" for wash). Indiana. as contrasted with Eastern New England. the northern half of Delaware. Southern half of New Jersey. most of Kentucky and Tennessee. the [s] in "grease" [verb] and "greasy" is voiced (and so rhyme with "sleaze" and "sleazy"). and adjacent parts of Maryland. Post-vocalic r is retained in this variety. Features include a merger of the vowels in cot /caught. South Midland (Mid Southern): West Virginia.and the basin of the Great Lakes share features of pronunciation resulting from the settlement patterns established during the western migrations along lakes. This variety is characterized by the loss of r finally and before consonants. North Midland speech retains r in all positions (like Inland Northern) and has flat a [æ] in "grass" and "ask.g. this is variety retains "post-vocalic r" (as in "car") and has the "flat a" sound (as in "apple"). Mencken reports that this feature was apparent in speeches by presidential candidate Alfred E. and Illinois. and the syntactical construction "The car needs washed. the diphthong in "right" and "bye" is often pronounced more like the vowel in "father." 5. and they merge long and short o before r in "four" and "forty.2. the pronunciation of curl as "coil" and bird as "boid" is characteristic of working-class speech." 6.." "forest. Southern: important focal areas are the Virginia Piedmont and the low country near the coast of South Carolina. cot /caught are phonemically contrasted. Smith in 1928 (368)..e." "Mary. "intrustive r" (e." and "merry"." Another major subarea in this region includes speech of western Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio. New York City: the presence or absence of r has become class marker. This variety distinguishes "long" o in words like "mourning" and "hoarse" from the "shorter" sound in "morning" and "horse". the –th sound (interdental fricative) is "voiced" in "with" (i. upstate New York." and "hot"." Within this region is a sub-area including the eastern half of Pennsylvania. the unrounded vowel (as in "father") in 12 . Speakers have an unrounded vowel ([a]. Inland Northern: Western New England. the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.
with an initial sound like the vowel in "shut. Another view holds that Black English results from the retention of British English features that have 13 ." gliding towards the vowel sound in "foot" (former presidential candidate Pat Robertson is representative of this dialect). Many speakers insert glide in Tuesday [tyuz-] and make no distinction between the vowels in pin and pen. This pidgin was used by slave traders and slave owners to communicate with blacks. Around Charleston and New Orleans the vowel incurl and bird is pronounced as in NYC. 7."top" and "hot." "dance. these are pronounced something like "lass" and "kep"). Also distinctive is the so-called Southern "drawl": diphtongization or triphthongization of stressed vowels in words like "yes. General American used to be thought of as most of the Western half of country. This is a kind of "idealized" dialect (broadcast English) generally thought of as "Standard. and refers to a dialect characterized by the retention of r." and "out": instead of diphthong [aw]." Black English The origins of Black English (referred to variously as Black Vernacular English. Southerners begin this diphthong with [æ] before voiced consonants and finally. African-American English. Out of this developed a Black English creole spoken by the first generations of slaves born in North America." "South." A very distinctive feature is the treatment of the vowel in "house." Final consonant cluster reduction occurs in words like "last" and "kept" (i.." and an unrounded vowel in hot.e. "flat a.This creole can be heard today spoken by the Gullah and Geechee inhabitants of the Carolina Sea Islands. One theory holds that this variety of English developed from a pidgin that resulted from the conditions of the slave trade. and Ebonics) are disputed." flat a in "grass. and by blacks of different linguistic backgrounds to communicate with each other. while in Virginia and South Carolina the diphthong is pronounced similar to that in Canadian speech." and "path. during which speakers of different African languages were thrown together and forced to communicate through a pidgin language.
or universally-occurring features. Phonology r-deletion: door> [do:] ("doah") sister>"sistah" l-deletion: help>"hep" steal>"steah" ball>"bah" you'll >"youah"* they'll>"deyah"/"dey"* *Results in appearance of failure to inflect for the future tense final consonant cluster reduction: passed>"pass" This gives the appearance of a morphological gap in the grammar (i.. The features below represent tendencies toward speech patterns that occur some of the time in speakers of Black English but that are certainly not to be regarded as universal. no past tense marker). Black English is characterized by pronunciations (phonology). Note that even in Standard English speakers simplify final clusters in 14 . Many features are shared by Southern white speakers and by Appalachian speakers. Also controversial is the question of whether Black English and Standard English are on the path to convergence or increasing divergence. syntactic patterns (grammar).not been retained in other varieties of American English. and morphological features (inflections) that in many instances also occur in other varieties of English.e.
casual speech if the following word in the phrase begins with a consonant: cold cuts>"col´ cuts" loss of final dental [alveolar] stop: good man>"goo´ man" monophthongization: like>[lak] time>[tam] why>[wha] interdental fricatives become alveolar stops: initially: they>"dey" them>"dem" think>"tink" thin>"tin" But. if the following consonant is an r: three>"free" throat>"froat" medially: nothing>"nuffin'" brother>"bruvvah" finally: tenth>"tenf"/"tent" mouth>"mouf"/"mout" 15 .
Iterative/habitual be: He be coming home at six. 48 Hours) "Can't no one tell you you ain't somebody. Black English can delete: Standard English (informal) Black English He going I got it he happy be He's going I've got it He'd be happy Note that where Standard English cannot contract.. Black English cannot delete: Standard English (informal) Black English *What fool you.Grammar AUX-deletion (i. deletion of the auxilliary verb): Where Standard English can contract. (means: "He usually comes home at six. "Nor is this not my nose neither.e. a *What a fool you're." (Jessie Jackson) cf." (Eddie Murphy." (Shakespeare) 16 .") Double (or multiple) negation: "Neither one of us ain't got nuthin' ta lose.
fifty. etc. the Black English speaker might say "John cousin. so that "she works here" is expressed as "she work here." The possessive is marked in Black English by the "genitival" position of the noun and its possessor The third-person singular has no obligatory morphological ending in Black English. seven.." Black English past tense: "He ain't go." Future-tense: Standard English: "I will go home" Black English: "I'ma go home" Conditional subordination: 17 .g. two foot The use of the possessive marker: Where the Standard English speaker says "John's cousin".. Black English speakers may not add the obligatory in Standard English (and redundant) morphemes for the plural: e.Morphology and Syntax: With a numerical quantifier such as two." Black English sometimes uses ain't as a past-tense marker: Black English present tense: "He don't go. fifty cent.
" BVE " Black English: "Us got to do it."." 18 ." Black English: "He over to his friend house. BVE Black English: "I ask did he do it.Standard English: "I asked if he did it." Preposition: Standard English: " He is over at his friend's house." Pronoun case Standard English: "We have to do it.
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