General Differences between SAE and AAVE

 

SAE

AAVE

Verbs show person and number agreement in the present tense.

Verbs other than be do not show person and number agreement in the present tense.

Irregular verbs, unlike regular verbs, show a distinction in form between past tense and past participle forms (ate vs. eaten)

Irregular verbs, like regular verbs, do not show a distinction in form between past tense and past participle forms; past tense forms are used where SAE uses past participle forms. (ate, no eaten)

The verb be has three forms in the singular present: first person am (reducible to ím), second person are (reducible to íre), third person is (reducible to ís).

The verb be has two forms in the singular: first person am (reducible to ím), and non-first person is (reducible to nothing with subjects other than it; reducible to ís with it).

The verb be has one form in the plural present: are (the same form as the second person singular, reducible to íre ).

The verb be has one form in the plural present: is (the same form as the second person and third person singular, reducible to nothing).

The verb be has two forms in the past tense, a singular form was and a plural form were.

The verb be has one form in the past tense, was.

The negative contracted form of is not is isnít.

The negative contracted form of is not is ainít.

There are four aspects in SAE: simple, perfect, progressive, and perfect progressive.

The number of aspects in AAVE appears to be greater: simple (used to indicate ability or occasional activity in the present), progressive, perfect, perfect progressive, habitual be form, Ďlong timeí been form, perfect Ďlong timeí been form, perfect progressive Ďlong timeí been form, completive done form, Ďlong timeí completive been done form, perfect Ďlong timeí completive been done form.

Among auxiliaries and lexical verbs, only modals fail to inflect to agree in the present tense.

Among auxiliaries and lexical verbs, only non-habitual be (be auxiliary in progressives and copular be)inflects to agree in the present tense.

If a primary auxiliary appears as the first verb in the VP, it must inflect for tense and agreement.

Habitual be, Ďlong timeí been, and completive done are invariant even if they appear as the first verb in the VP.

A progressive or perfect auxiliary as the first verb in the VP will serve as the operator will serve as the operator when an operator is needed.

A progressive or perfect auxiliary as the first verb in the VP will serve as the operator will serve as the operator when an operator is needed; habitual be, Ďlong timeí been, and completive done do not serve as operators under any circumstances.Instead, do is used with be, and have is used with been and done.

 

In the AAVE data, the only clear lexical verb is eat, which has three forms: eat, eating, ate.

As in SAE, lexical be acts the same as the progressive auxiliary be in that it can act as an operator in emphatic and negative constructions.We identify it as a lexical verb because it does not cooccur with another verb (just as we do in SAE).

In this data, there are a number of auxiliaries (which are clearly auxiliaries, since they can act like operators in emphatic and negative constructions), progressive be (which reduces to m, s, and nothing), perfect have (which reduces to a and nothing), modals(will (a), should, may, might).

 

The forms which cause difficulties are (1) the invariant habitual be; (2) the completive done; and the ďlong timeĒ stressed been.None of these forms can serve as operators.In the cases of been and done, it seems likely that these are not truly the first verbs in the VP: whenever an operator is needed another auxiliary have appears, which suggests that it merely reduces all the way to nothing in the present tense. The invariant be habitual is more difficult since the auxiliary that appears when it needs an operator is do, which otherwise does not cooccur with auxiliary verbs.It is possible that we should treat be (and maybe the other two forms discussed here) as invariant markers that arenít full-fledged auxiliaries or main verbs, but invariant particles that affect the structure of the following verb.

 

Summary
Forms of VPs

 

SAE

AAVE

Simple:

inflected lexical verb (LV) (inflects for both agreement and tense)

inflected lexical verb (LV) (doesnítinflect for agreement, only for tense)(1a-g, 5)

 

inflected lexical be (is reduces to ís; am reduces to ím; are reduces to íre)

inflected lexical be (reduces to nothing if the verb is is and the subject is not it; am reduces to ím; is reduces to ís after it. ) (30-32)

 

modal auxiliary + uninflected LV

modal auxiliary + uninflected LV (same as SAE) (9)

Emphatic:

stressed inflected do + uninflected LV

stressed inflected (only tense-marked)do + uninflected LV (3)

in the past tense, variant had + uninflected LV (4)

 

stressed inflected be

stressed inflected (agreement distinct only for first person) be (39-40)

 

stressed modal auxiliary + uninflected LV

stressed modal auxiliary + uninflected LV (Same as SAE) (11)

Negative:

inflected do + not/nít + uninflected LV

inflected (only tense-marked) do + not/nít + uninflected LV/past form of LV (5)
only in the past tense variant ainít + uninflected LV (6)

 

contracted inflected be + not

inflected be + nít

ím /ís/nothing + not††† (33, 37, 40)

ainít(34, 35, 38)

 

modal auxiliary + not/nít +LV

modal auxiliary + not/nít +LV (same as SAE) (10)

Perfect:

inflected have auxiliary + past participleofLV

in the present tense, past form of LV (47)

in the past tense, past tensehave auxiliary + past form ofLV(51)

Emphatic:

stressed inflected have auxiliary + past participle†† ofLV

stressed inflected have auxiliary + past form of LV (47, 53)

Negative:

inflected have auxiliary + not + past participle†† ofLV

inflected have auxiliary + not + past form of LV (49, 52)

in the present tense ainít + past form of LV (48)

Progressive:

inflected be auxiliary + LV+ing

inflected be auxiliary (or nothing in some forms of the present tense) + LV+ing(19-21, 41)

 

modal verb + uninflected be +LV+ing

modal verb + uninflected be + LV+ing (same as SAE) (44)

Emphatic:

stressed inflected be auxiliary + LV+ing

stressed inflected be auxiliary + LV+ing (28-29)

 

stressed modal auxiliary + uninflected be + LV+ing

stressed modal auxiliary + uninflected be + LV+ing (same as SAE)(46)

Negative:

inflected be auxiliary + not/nít+ LV+ing

ainít+ LV+ing††† (22, 24, 27)
ím /ís/nothing + not†† +LV+ing (23, 25-6)

 

modal auxiliary + not + uninflected be + LV+ing

modal auxiliary + not + uninflected be + LV+ing (same as SAE) (45)

Perfect Progressive:

inflected have auxiliary + been auxiliary +LV+ing

in the present tense,been auxiliary +LV+ing(54)
in the past tense, had been +LV+ing (58)

 

modal auxiliary + uninflected have auxiliary + been auxiliary +LV+ing

modal auxiliary + a + been auxiliary +LV+ing(same as SAE speech)(61)

Emphatic:

stressed inflected have auxiliary + been auxiliary +LV+ing

stressed inflected (only tense-marked) have auxiliary + been auxiliary +LV+ing (57), (60)

Negative:

inflected have auxiliary + nít + been auxiliary +LV+ing

in the present tense, havenít + been +LV+ing; (55)

in the present tense, ainít been + LV+ing (56)
in the past tense, hadnít been +LV+ing(58)

 

modal auxiliary + nít +have + been auxiliary +LV+ing

modal auxiliary + n +a + been auxiliary +LV+ing (same as spoken SAE) (62)

Other aspects:

 

 

be habitual

Not part of SAE

uninflected be + -ing form of lexical verb(78)

Emphatic:

 

stressed do + uninflected be + -ing form of lexical verb (80)

Negative:

 

donít + uninflected be + -ing form of lexical verb (79)

been Ďlong timeí

Not part of SAE

in the present tense, stressed been + LV+ing (ďfor a long timeĒ) (81)

in the past tense, stressed been + past form of LV (ďa long time agoĒ) (85)

in the past perfect Ďlong timeí, had + stressed been + past form of LV (ďa long time agoĒ) (89)

Emphatic:

 

in the present tense, stressed have + stressed been + LV+ing (ďfor a long timeĒ) (84)

in the past tense, stressed had + stressed been + past form of LV (ďa long time agoĒ) (88)

in the past perfect Ďlong timeí, stressed had + stressed been + past form of LV (ďa long time agoĒ) (91)

Negative:

 

in the present tense, ainít/ havenít + stressed been + LV+ing (ďfor a long timeĒ) (82-83)

in the past tense, ainít/ hadnít + stressed been + past form of LV (ďa long time agoĒ) (86-87)

in the past perfect Ďlong timeí, hadnít + stressed been + past form of LV (ďa long time agoĒ) (90)

done completed

Not part of SAE

in the present, done + past form of LV (92)

in the past, had + done + past form of LV (95)

modal + a + done + past form of LV (98)

Emphatic:

 

in the present, stressed have +done + past form of LV (marginal) (94)

in the past, stressed had +done + past form of LV (97)

Negative:

 

in the present, ainít + done + past form of LV (93)

in the past, hadnít +done + past form of LV (96)

be done habitual completed

Not part of SAE

uninflected be + done + past form of LV

modal + uninflected be + done + past form of LV

Emphatic:

 

stressed do + be + done + past form of LV
stressed modal + uninflected be + done + past form of LV

Negative:

 

donít + be + done + past form of LV

modal + nít + uninflected be + done + past form of LV

been done completed a long time ago

Not part of SAE

in the present, stressed been + done + past form of LV (99)

in the past, had + stressed been + done + past form of LV (103)

Emphatic:

 

in the present, stressed have + stressed been + done + past form of LV (102)

Negative:

 

in the present, havenít/ainít + stressed been + done + past form of LV (100-101)