eldin raigmore wrote:
An interesting bit of AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) vs. SAE (Standard American English)*
(or maybe it's AAE -- Average American English? Or SAAE, Standard Average American? Or SAUSAE?) I heard a few days earlier this week.
(I've heard it many times before but just didn't get around to posting about it before now.)
I mentioned to an iPhone & U-Verse tech who was helping me the other day that wrote: there's a new advertising thing happening at Marathon stations that's not only very irritating but probably will backfire on the company, (since it makes it harder to purchase gasoline and any customer who is driven away before purchasing gas will probably go to some other filling station before going inside the Marathon station to purchase the items advertised).
She said wrote: "You're right! It's a Marathon a few blocks south of here where I noticed the same thing!"
(I don't speak S.A.E. myself, so I'm only guessing that's what this AAVE contrasts with.)
In AAVE I often hear African-Americans use "It's" in places where Euro-Americans (or, at least, Britanno-Americans) would use "There's".
I've heard this phenom as well, but I don't understand how it's applicable to the example. I found nothing at all odd SAEwise or familiar-regiolect-wise about "It's a Marathon a few blocks...". I would say exactly the same thing, almost certainly. Or perhaps "Twas a Marathon..."
eldin raigmore wrote:I've never heard of any USAnian who had trouble understanding the 'lect that wasn't their own, though; or, at least, not trouble with this particular usage.
For example I had no trouble understanding Tech Brittany, and I'm sure she had no trouble understanding me.
For all Americans are lambasted with being recalcitrant monoglots I think we do pretty well at understanding all the foreign Englishes, not to mention the often quite distinct native Englishes!, spoken here.
An interesting thing to note, though! Gullah, interestingly in light of what you say about AAVE, seems to align more with SAE on this usage: "Wehsoneba dey a dead body, de buzzat dem gwine geda togeda dey too." (Lk. 24:28) & "Fodamo, dey a deep deep ditch tween we and oona." (Lk. 16:26) & "Bot dey a nodaposon wa tell bout me..." (Jn. 5:32) (With the expected copular deletion common in AAVE (he in the kitchen / he's in the kitchen sort of thing).)
An interesting one that doesn't seem to quite match either "black" or "white" English: "Een Jerusalem, a pool ob wata been dey by de place dey call 'Sheep Gyate.' De Jew people call dat pool Bethesda, an dey been fibe poch close by dat wata." (Jn. 5:2) Leastways not modern
English! Maybe something like "... a pool of water be there by the place...and there be five porches..."?
Other instances of "there is a" use other turns of phrase (there is a great odor vs. dis place gwine stink e.g.), most of which I'd find perfectly acceptable in basal-cross-dialectical American English.
eldin raigmore wrote:Does anyone know of any other 'lect of English that has a different way of saying that "some sample of what I'm about to say next exists somewhere/sometime in the universe: …" besides "there's a" or "it's a" (and grammatical variations thereof due to number and gender and tense and aspect)?
Just the expected "they've / they have" -- "they've quite a few stale doughnuts left in the cupboard..." kind of thing.
eldin raigmore wrote:Does anyone know of any other 'lect of English that uses "it's a" the way AAVE does, as an existential marker or existential quantifier (or whatever the right terminology is)? Goan English, maybe?
I hint below, at least in my experience of AAVE, "it has" doesn't / mayn't operate everywhere SAE uses "there's". I would have rather expected "they a concert..." in your example above, but I'm not as familiar with AAVE to say anything definitively.
eldin raigmore wrote:Does anyone know of other interesting ways AAVE differs from SAUSAE (Standard Average USAmerican English)?
(Damn, now I'm trying to think of a good word that starts with a <G>! "General", maybe? "Standard Average US American General English"? Something else might be better.)
Does anyone know of a way for me to identify my own 'lect, since I kind of doubt it's Standard or Average for the whole USA as opposed to just the places I've lived most of my life?
How can I tell I'm not speaking SAUSA(g)E? Or, how can I tell I am speaking SAUSA(g)E?
There are all sorts of dialect quizzes out there. E.g. http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_vall ... alian.html
I'd try three or four of them and see what they come up with! I just took two, one placed me anywhere in a broad swath from NJ to northern CA. The other placed me smack in Northern Ireland! Take these quizzes with just a pinch of salt! I know my idiolect ain't SAE (or even SAUSAGE), and definitely has a number of non-standard features based on family connections.
There are certainly many key ways AAVE and SAE differ. I mention copula deletion in AAVE: "Where Marcus?" "He in the back." This I admit to using, leastways when talking with someone who is already speaking AAVE. I have also come to refer to (usually older) black ladies as "Miss So-and-so".
Take a look at: http://public.wsu.edu/~gordonl/S2003/326/SAE_AAVE.htm
eldin raigmore wrote:(And of course I know that I don't actually speak any recognized and named 'lect just exactly the way it's supposed to be spoken, in every way and every context. My parents, and other people I've spent time with, may have brought habits from other 'lectozones that I picked up. Also I've spent time outside the country (as well as in a few more than half the states of this country), and have picked up some Briticisms and some NATO dialect and other stuff I probably either don't recognize or would mislabel.)
Of course. No one anywhere really speaks any standard lect in exactly the way it's supposed to be spoken. Whatever "exactly the way it's supposed to spoken" really means outside of a horrifically prescriptivist grammarian world-view! I certainly have Briticisms, Southernisms, Asianisms, New Yorkisms and possibly some other ismses in my lect. But this is why we also have the word "idiolect"! Recognising that individuals each have their own unique "phenotype" or expression of a recognised standard.
eldin raigmore wrote:A more reliable test might be something like
Q: "What's going on at the mall?"
A: "It has a Handel concert this week."
Or maybe it doesn't make any difference.
I concur with the "got" folks on this one: for me, twould be more something like "It's got / they've got a Handel concert". "It has a Handel concert" certainly doesn't sound basal "white" English to me (let alone SAE) and neither does it seem to fit with the "black" English I hear every day. I don't have enough data to formulate a theory though and of course, I don't even know if I'm right on this or not!