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The Black English Semi-Auxiliary Come

Arthur K. Spears
Language
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), pp. 850-872
DOI: 10.2307/413960
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/413960
Page Count: 23
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The Black English Semi-Auxiliary Come
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Abstract

Black English has, in addition to the motion verb come, a come which expresses only speaker indignation. To some extent it shares grammatical properties with auxiliary verbs. Typically, it occurs in utterances that can be taken as identical to ones occurring in non-Black dialects; and it is apparently for this reason that it has remained undetected. The existence of this come indicates that an even greater difference exists between Black and White speech than previously thought. It is also of interest that the semi-auxiliary come occurs even in acrolectal varieties of Black English. This reveals that the postcreole continuum in the United States differs from that in Guyana as described by Bickerton 1975, who states that forms which are identical to ones in the base language, but functionally distinct, are not part of the acrolect.

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