Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 18:01:33 -0500
From: Beverly Flanigan FLANIGAN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]OUVAXA.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
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?