A rat done bit my sister Nell

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
Does "A rat done bit my sister Nell" refer to "A rat has done a biting on my sister Nell"? I guess "done bit" is the peculiar grammar of black people's English.

Thanks in advance

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I call this the Whitey-on-the-Moon Problem in honor of rap pioneer Gil Scott-Heron. In his 1970 song “Whitey on the Moon” Scott-Heron says, A rat done bit my sister Nell/(with Whitey on the Moon)./…The man just upped my rent last night/('cause Whitey's on the moon).<.....................>


By John Horgan on April 16, 2018

-Scientific American

Source
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Think of it as standard English 'did bite' = 'bit', with a different verb form: 'done' as simple past instead of 'did'.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    done

    3.
    Southern U.S. Nonstandard. (used often with a principal verb in the past tense to indicate completed action): I done told you.
    done

    I came across this usage in the film Basic Instinct.
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you. :)

    Does A rat done bit my sister Nell/(with Whitey on the Moon)" imply that "my home is so shabby as to a rat did bite my sister Nell while white people are so rich that they have traveled to the Moon"?
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you. :)

    Does A rat done bit my sister Nell/(with Whitey on the Moon)" imply that "my home is so shabby as to a rat did bite my sister Nell while white people are so rich that they have traveled to the Moon"?
    Blacks are so poor because whites spend all the money on space programms.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Does A rat done bit my sister Nell/(with Whitey on the Moon)" imply that "my home is so shabby as to a rat did bite my sister Nell while white people are so rich that they have traveled to the Moon"?
    No. It's intended to mean that the people in power didn't have their priorities right. They were spending money on sending people (who happened to be Caucasians, the majority race in the US) to the moon while there were others who suffered from very basic problems like rat-infested houses, lack of money for rent and lack of hot water and toilets and electricity.

    (As your source says, the next line of the song goes: No hot water, no toilets, no lights/(but Whitey's on the moon).)
     
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