Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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The Grammar of Dialects

All dialects are linguistically equal.  All of them have grammar

I am particularly intrigued by the stressed-bin example, which is not one I've encountered before, but I note that it follows a similar set of rules as Southern done as an auxiliary verb.  Done means something like "all finished" or "all the way," which is much like a perfective marker, but it can also be used for emphasis or distant past.  Mostly it's a perfective, as in "He done chopped the wood."  You hear the emphatic version in things like "He done had enough" and the hints of distant past in "She done give up on men."  But like stressed-bin, you can't make a question with it: *"Done she give up on men?"

Writing an unfamiliar dialect is very challenging, because it's easy to make mistakes like that if you haven't heard it spoken regularly.  When I write dialect, it's either one I've heard or I'm using what references I can find.  There aren't many references on dialects outside the mainstream ones, because privilege, and what sources there are, often aren't very good.  But I'd rather make my best attempt at them than write everything in newscast-English.  0_o  So I cite my sources if I'm using them, and let it go at that.
Tags: linguistics, news
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