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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||'Stay' for 'Live'|
|Question:||I'm curious about the origin and distribution of the use of ''stay'' in AAVE/BEV where SAE uses ''live'', as in ''I stay at aunt's house'' or ''My family stays in Detroit''. This is standard usage among Detroit blacks, but I'm curious about: -- Is it mostly limited to black/POC or urban communities? -- Is it in usage outside of Detroit and if so, where else? -- Are there any opinions about its origin? Googled conversations and Urban Dictionary seem to be of the opinion that it relates to the relative transience of the urban black population, but I'm not convinced. Thanks for any information.|
|Reply:||In the Oxford English Dictionary, sense 8a is "To reside or sojourn in a place for a longer or shorter period" and sense 8b is "To dwell, lodge, reside (permanently or regularly)." Sense 8b is said to be found in Scotland, South Africa, India and the USA. This is a lot of the world (even without all the missing places being listed...,), and the distinction is a subtle one. How 'long' is a 'long period' and how permanent is permanence? In fact, the distinction between staying-for-a-while / staying-for-a-long-time and being where your 'permanent' home is is not a sharp one. There just is an overlap. The transience of the urban black population in the US is irrelevant -- the only thing that is relevant is that this is a word with (as most words have) a vagueness in its meaning. I hope that in the 3rd edition of the OED the definition of 8a/b will be updated to incorporate the widespread use of 'stay' in the meaning 'reside'. Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|