The Habitual Be of Ebonics

I studied a little ebonics while at Cal State Fullerton. I learned so many cool characteristics of the language, one of those was the habitual be. You’ve probably heard it spoken but not heard “of” it.

language_files-6164828In the field of linguistics, we have observed a “habitual be” in ebonics. This is not simply a grammatical error. It is actually an identifiable, quantifiable language rule that is present in some African American dialects. Whether or not you accept ebonics as a standard language doesn’t matter, we see the habitual be many many places on the globe.

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Today’s SoCs prompt was to write on the word “be.”

What does it sound like? Basically this: “She be working at that shop for years.” It precedes the verb (working) to mean that she has been there a long time. There are other uses of the habitual be. I found it quite remarkable in grad school studies. Since graduating with my MA, I notice it all the time in movies, tv, books, and in my every day work as a teacher at an inner city school.

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This post is part of Blogging From A to Z April (2016) Challenge

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