Habitual “Be” in W. PA

Last Friday on the local news there was a story about a meth lab in Clearfield, PA in Western PA between State College and Pittsburgh. Although I don’t remember the details, I do remember one of the neighbors describing one of the people involved saying phrases like “He be setting out when I be coming and going from work” (-0:38).

This struck me because the woman was using an AAVE habitual be form, yet she was white. Her sister mentioned that they were from Pittsburgh, so I wondered if she was exposed to the form there. Other than the habitual be usage though, there was no other AAVE features I could detect. Still this does show that linguistic features are not necessarily “Black” (AAVE) or “White” (not-AVVE). When thinking about working class forms, I am seeing crossover between communities.

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