Date: Sat, 19 Nov 1994 08:34:24 -0600

From: Natalie Maynor maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]RA.MSSTATE.EDU

Subject: Re: Recent Black English

I've gotten similar reactions to what Tim Frazer reported regarding VBE.

One shouldn't be surprised that a "lect" changes in a generation, particularly

in salient usages that have the potential for social stigmatization. Is

the VBE lect of today's college-age African Americans supposed to be the

same as that of their parents' generation? The item that was called to my

attention was habitual BE, as in Tim's case.

It's quite unlikely that the speech of college-age African Americans is

exactly like that of their parents' generation, but I find the particular

example (use of invariant "be") surprising. Although I haven't collected

any data recently, these college-age speakers represent the same group

that Guy Bailey and I looked at extensively when they were approximately

junior-high age. At that time we found that their use of invariant "be"

was more frequent and more predictable (habitual action) than that of their

grandparents. We didn't collect as much data from their parents' generation.

--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]