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"Shoulda did a study; but I’ma give a talk instead…"

Culture and languages

In this work in progress seminar, arranged by the English research seminar, Joe Trotta and Monika Mondor present their ongoing research. All interested are welcome!

23 Feb 2021
15:15 - 17:00
Online via Zoom, please email the contact person for link

Joe Trotta
Monika Mondor
Good to know
Seminar language: English
Department of Languages and Literatures


In this work in progress presentation, Joe Trotta discusses three so-called ‘nonstandard’ English constructions: the use of past tense forms (or -ed  forms) instead of past participle forms (or -en forms) as show in (1); the contraction of I am going to to I’ma, shown in (2); and the invariant don’t as in (3):

  1. I coulda wrote this song for your (Coulda wrote this song 4U by Hadley Parton)
  2. Took an oath, I'ma stick it out to the end (Umbrella by Rihanna)
  3. My baby don’t care (Ticket to Ride by The Beatles)

When noted in the literature, these nonstandard forms are commonly discussed as being features of a few specific varieties of English, primarily African American Vernacular English (AAVE) or as some variant of Southern US White English (SWE). Additionally, many documented examples are evidenced in mediatized language from Popular Culture (note that the examples above are all taken from Pop lyrics). In the present study, we look beyond the common explanations and instead examine these uses through a systemic corpus study. Our aim is to shed some critical light on what factors are connected to these nonstandard variants as regards textual and situational variables such as text-type, genre, medium, as well as whatever sociolinguistic variables (e.g. gender, ethnicity, age, etc.) may be relevant.