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African American Vernacular English's most distinctive

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Joined: 25 Mar 2011
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Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 3

African American Vernacular English's most distinctive [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2011, 11:26
African American Vernacular English's most distinctive grammatical difference from standard American English is its usage of the verb to be. Speakers of African American Vernacular English omit the verb to be in everyday speech, but, in certain instances, the verb is inserted for specific semantic purposes. In one such instance, the word be is used to indicate habitual action. When the speaker wants to denote that an event occurs consistently, he will say something like, "the dog be dirty". Had the dog stepped in a puddle that day, the same speaker of African American Vernacular English would remark instead "the dog dirty". In another instance, African American Vernacular English employs certain forms of the verb to be to rid the sentence of possible ambiguity. This rule is especially applicable to sentences known as tag questions, in which a question is added onto the end of sentences as follows: "you ain't too tired to play, is you?". In all of these cases, the speaker uses the simplified forms is or was regardless of the form of the sentence's subject. When denoting a continuous past action that has been recently completed or had occurred before another past action, cases in which standard English uses has been or had been, the African American Vernacular English speaker will use the word been, in a third example of the deliberate unusual usage of the verb to be typical of this dialect. The word been is all encompassing; the African American Vernacular English speaker will use the single word been to replace standard English verbs in both the present perfect and past perfect tense.

Which of the following statements in African American Vernacular English provides an example of how a speaker avoids possible ambiguity?

    A) My ring lost.
    B) My ring was lost.
    C) My ring be lost.
    D) My ring been lost.

Source: Master GMAT.


Official Explanation:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
This is an Application question. The author begins his or her discussion of cases in which African American Vernacular English (AAVE) uses the verb to be to avoid ambiguity in the sixth sentence.

The eighth sentence of the passage gives us crucial information about these cases. Speakers of AAVE only use was or is, whether these verbs agree with the subject or not.

A) Incorrect. This sentence does not use was or is.
B) Correct. Although this statement also happens to be correct standard English, it agrees with the passage's description of a sentence in AAVE because it uses the word was to make sure the listener knows that the ring is no longer lost.
C) Incorrect. This sentence does not use was or is.
D) Incorrect. This sentence does not use was or is.
E) Incorrect. This sentence does not use was or is.

Last edited by smodak on 06 Jul 2011, 04:58, edited 2 times in total.
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Manager
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WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
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Kudos [?]: 54 [0], given: 34

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Re: AAVE [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 23:54
This is specific question so we have to read second instance where it is mention that "In another instance, African American Vernacular English employs certain forms of the verb to be to rid the sentence of possible ambiguity......Tag question....". Looking at options
(A) - Create Tag question. My ring lost, wasn't it?
(B) - Create Tag Question. My ring was lost, wasn't it? does not seem right construction.
(C) - Create Tag Q - My ring be lost, isn't it? does not seem right construction.
(D) - Create Tag Q - My ring been lost,......? does not seem right construction.

So Choice (A) fits better. Whats OA ?
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Re: AAVE [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 04:58
rphardu wrote:
This is specific question so we have to read second instance where it is mention that "In another instance, African American Vernacular English employs certain forms of the verb to be to rid the sentence of possible ambiguity......Tag question....". Looking at options
(A) - Create Tag question. My ring lost, wasn't it?
(B) - Create Tag Question. My ring was lost, wasn't it? does not seem right construction.
(C) - Create Tag Q - My ring be lost, isn't it? does not seem right construction.
(D) - Create Tag Q - My ring been lost,......? does not seem right construction.

So Choice (A) fits better. Whats OA ?


OA Provided
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Status: Appearing for GMAT
Joined: 23 May 2011
Posts: 134
Location: United States (NJ)
Concentration: Finance, General Management
GPA: 3.5
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 54 [1] , given: 34

GMAT Tests User
Re: AAVE [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 06:34
1
This post received
KUDOS
Thanks Bro for providing OA. I got wrong answer because I was incorrect about Ain't, I though it can be only used for "Are not" so I read sentence as "you are not too tired to play, is you?". and selected answer A. But after searching on Internet found that Ain't can be used for "is not" also.
so I learnt a new thing.

Definition of AIN'T
1: am not : are not : is not
2: have not : has not
3: do not : does not : did not —used in some varieties of Black English
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"Giving kudos" is a decent way to say "Thanks" and motivate contributors. Please use them, it won't cost you anything.
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Re: AAVE   [#permalink] 06 Jul 2011, 06:34
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