School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Randolph Quirk Fellow 2018 | Professor Lisa Green (UMass-Amherst) | Workshop One

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30 April 2018

Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
Venue: ArtsOne 1.28

Tense and aspect in African American English 

African American English (AAE) has been claimed to be aspect prominent. Although this view is one that often comes up in discussions of the linguistic system of AAE, it has not been really been thoroughly explored in the literature. The most articulated account of this claim is in DeBose and Faraclas (1993), in which the tense-aspect-modality and copula systems are considered as a means of elucidating shared properties between AAE African and Creole “substrate” languages. According to DeBose and Faraclas, standard treatments of AAE predicates and verbal constructions in which their main characteristics are described from an English perspective have led to awkward descriptions of the linguistic variety. In interactive discussion, I review the claims and data in DeBose and Faraclas (1993) and then move on to a description of morphological properties of verb forms and their relation to semantic interpretation and syntactic structure. Auxiliaries, such as DO and BE, and aspectual markers, such as beasp, BINasp, and dənasp, will be considered, especially in the discussion of syntactic categories T(ense) and Asp(ect). In addition, preverbal markers gon, stay, come, and steady, which have received less attention than other aspectual markers will also be considered.