Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 13:44:44 -0400
From: sonja lanehart
Subject: AAV question (fwd)

A student at UGA has some syntactic questions about a "phenomenon" in
AAVE. He needs technical help that I am not able to provide right now. I
told him we have wonderful people on ADS-L that would be willing to offer
him help in a short period of time. I hope this isn't an inconvenience
that some of you will be able to direct him. You can either respond to me
and I will forward him your responses or you can e-mail him directly at
the address in the message since he is not on ADS-L. Thanks in advance
for your help. --SL

Sonja L. Lanehart
Department of English My office: (706) 542-2260
Park Hall ENG office/message: (706) 542-1261
University of Georgia Fax: (706) 542-2181
Athens, GA 30602-6205 E-mail: lanehart[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 12:14:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Turnbow
Subject: AAV question

I have come across a small phenomenon in AAV which I would like to explain
in terms of grammer and syntax, yet I do not have enough knowledge in the
field of linguistics nor grammer to do so. Could you help?
Here in the South(atleast), there is a pattern of asking questions by
first asserting the pronoun before the verb, often making what would be
considered standardized questions into command/questions or
statement/questions. example:

"You'll hand me that book?"

which is translated:

"Will you hand me that book?"

When pronouncing "You'll hand me that book?", the tone is raised an
octave, similiar to the tone used in pronouncing "Huh?"
Futhermore, since this is a southern pronunciation with a southern drawl,
the word "book" has two syllables instead of one; stress placed on the
first syllable.
A further example is...

"Dat's mines?"


"Is that mine?"

Once again the last word "mines" is multisylabic, stress on the first

What differentiates these types of questions from simple standard English
or even Standard AAV English is that they are considered commands, but are
posed as questions. So the respondent is expected to do whatever is asked
of him/her unless it is totally outside of their power to do so. For

"You'll take me a sto'?"


"Will you take me to the store?"

It is expected that the respondent will take the questioner to the store,
unless something is hindering the respondent from doing so.
I suspect it has something to do with the cultural assertiveness of
African Culture transcended down into present day Af-Am culture.
If I could get some feedback on this subject, both from a cultural aspect
as well, and especially, from a syntactical/grammatical aspect, I would
very much apreciate it.

Richard Turnbow
Eng-Ed. Grad. Student
Univ. of Georgia

"Thanks Dr.Lanehart"