Deriving a complex BIN through adverbial BIN complexes

Ayana Whitmal


Work by Green (1998) discusses 3 sub-types of stressed BIN in African American English (AAE): stative, habitual, and completive. BIN constructions that co-occur with temporal adverbials exhibit limited grammaticality, with each sub-type differing in how they interact with these adverbials. Non-BIN constructions that involve multiple instances in the same clause of adverbials of the same class exhibit restrictions that resemble BIN + adverbial data. Drawing on works that analyze BIN as a remote past marker (Rickford 1975, Green 1998) and on works connecting adverbial position to interpretation (Ernst 2020), I argue that BIN is an adverbial itself that situates the initiation of an eventuality in the remote past. This adverbial BIN, in concert with certain combinations of tense and aspect, forms a complex that makes up the canonical BIN construction.


African American English; adverbials; semantics; tense and aspect; syntax

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