Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 18:01:33 -0500


Subject: Re: Survey help again--new participant

I've already sent my responses to Sonja Lanehart privately, but I'm

interested in Mike Salovesh's replies on the survey, particularly those

referring to "Chicago Ebonics." Sometimes we hear a lack of tense

marking, or the use of uninflected "be," and assume they apply in all

contexts (as the "Mad Monk" did some time back). Does Mr. S. really

hear "[He] in his office yesterday" or "I don't be eat ..." or "He done

sell" (instead of "sold") in Chicago African Americans' speech?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but past tense would not have zero

marking, nor would "be" be used without pres. prog. -ing, or "done"

with the infinitive instead of the past participle in most (if not

all?) varieties of AAE. (I questioned sentence 3 too, but thought it

might be used in narrative speech, where present (prog.) and past tense

may alternate.) Non-native English may, of course, not inflect for

plurals and may not be able to handle sounds like 'th' in 'thick'; and

I too wondered if 'bong' was meant to be 'bang.'

A query too: I've never heard the term "Platform English." What is the

history of this term? I assume it's the equivalent of "Media English"

or an assumed "General (Midwest) American"? Or does it refer only to

"coached English," for example, for elocution or debate?