Chapter published in:All Things Morphology: Its independence and its interfaces
Edited by Sedigheh Moradi, Marcia Haag, Janie Rees-Miller and Andrija Petrovic
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 353] 2021
► pp. 377–394
A-prefixing in the ex-slave narratives
The speech of elderly African-Americans collected in the ex-slave narratives during the 1930s can enhance our understanding of both form and meaning of a-prefixing. Drawing on a selection of interviews that includes approximately 400 tokens of a-prefixing from over 100 individuals, this study will examine the types of words on which a-prefixing occurs, the phonological constraints on it, and the morpho-syntactic patterns in which it is more likely. From these interviews we can infer a semantic meaning of intensification for a-prefixing, especially in narrative contexts involving emotionally-charged events. This semantic meaning of a-prefixing may be related to the development of the progressive.
Keywords: a-prefixing, ex-slave narratives, AAVE, progressive
Published online: 25 August 2021
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