'Drunk' for 'drank' in Black American English

giovannino

Senior Member
Italian, Neapolitan
I only found threads about 'drank' and 'drunk' in general which do not answer my question so I thought it best to start a new thread. I'm actually asking this question on behalf of a friend who is studying language variation in AE at university and is not a WR member. He would like to know whether the use of 'drunk' for 'drank' (past tense), which he claims to have noticed in several AAVE sources, is indeed a common feature in AAVE and whether it is also found among white speakers in certain areas (his -- mind you, non-native --sociolinguistics lecturer claims it is also found among white speakers in Mississippi). I apologize for the rather narrow, maybe rather technical question but on Google I was only able to find a few academic discussions of the use of 'drank' for 'drunk' (past participle) and the interesting information that over the past centuries the two forms were often used interchangeably in Standard English (in Burchfield's 'The New Fowler's' and in 'The Columbia Guide to Standard American English').
 
  • JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    I am not fluent in AAVE, but I believe I have heard this from those who are, and I can confirm that it's used in other dialects as well, particularly some of those in the Deep South. Mississippi definitely qualifies as part of the Deep South.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Giovannino, are you talking about the use of "drunk" for "drank", or the use of "drank" for "drunk"? You refer to both in your post.

    I have certainly heard the former (as in "I drunk a lot of beer last night", for example), spoken by people of all colors who simply don't speak correct English. I have also occasionally heard the past used instead of the participle, especially in the past perfect ("I had drank a lot the night before I took the test"), not only with "drink" but with other verbs as well, and this does seem to be an AAVE characteristic.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    (I know you weren't asking about the UK, Giovannino, but you might like to know that confusion of drunk/drank ~ along with sang/sung, run/ran, rang/rung etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. ~ is very common in what might be called 'sub-standard' British English:))
     
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    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    I'm not sure what AAVE is but I agree with the others that people of all colors make mistakes with past and pp. It is also not limited to the South. To me it is not a dialect just incorrect usage , since people who otherwise speak like those of the same region but only make grammatical errors.
     
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    giovannino

    Senior Member
    Italian, Neapolitan
    MarcB, AAVE is an acronym for African American Vernacular English. It's certainly not an acronym I'd use in conversation. It's used by language scholars.
     
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