you <da> one [=the?]

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  • Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    It is not slang. It is the word meaning 'the' in Rihanna's native Caribbean creole, and also in African American vernacular English. If it were slang, it would be used by white people as well, which it isn't, unless they grew up with a VERY heavy black influence.
     
    Don't get so twisted, here, CK. So dogmatic. :)

    'da' for 'the' is as common as dirt in the US. And it's just not possible, often, to distinguish "the word 'da'" from "the pronunciation 'da' of the word 'the' "

    In fact, somewhat supporting the latter interpretation, many speakers of 'da' would write 'the'--and I wouldn't be suprised if that included Ms. Rihanna, herself. Listening to her speak in interview, I hear Caribbean accent; I'm not sure she's a 'creole' speaker at all.

    Listen to her song, 'Please don't stop the Music'; it's not in creole, nor are her others that I've heard. It's Barbadian accent--that's how it sounds to me.


    It is not slang. It is the word meaning 'the' in Rihanna's native Caribbean creole, and also in African American vernacular English. If it were slang, it would be used by white people as well, which it isn't, unless they grew up with a VERY heavy black influence.
     
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    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Confirming... At some time in the past, San Francisco had a African-American mayor.

    His e-mail address was "damayor@...".
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Don't get so twisted, here, CK. So dogmatic. :)

    'da' for 'the' is as common as dirt in the US. And it's just not possible, often, to distinguish "the word 'da'" from "the pronunciation 'da' of the word 'the' "

    In fact, somewhat supporting the latter interpretation, many speakers of 'da' would write 'the'--and I wouldn't be suprised if that included Ms. Rihanna, herself. Listening to her speak in interview, I hear Caribbean accent; I'm not sure she's a 'creole' speaker at all.
    You are neglecting the matter of dialectal register: people don't tend to write down vernacular varieties of English, they are primarily verbal, except in informal settings. Nor do Creole speakers tend to speak Creole very much when they live in the USA and have to communicate with English speakers. The point is, the word 'da' occasionally creeps into written English, although it is more commonly found in verbal dialects. It is incorrect standard English, but it is entirely correct AAVE and Barbados dialect. It is not the same phenomenon as white Americans pronouncing 'the' in a relaxed way that sounds like 'de'.
     
    Yes, Swiss Pete.

    And it might be pointed out that because of the relative rarity of the 'th' sound in other European languages, the pronunciation 'da' for 'the' (which is generally how I interpret it, as oppposed to a new word), is not peculiarly Black American; it's Spanish American, German American, Italian American, etc. Indeed, Anglo Americans, speaking 'American English' often pronounce (informally and casually) 't' as well as 'th' as 'd.' The fact is noted in the video of Cunningham, the British acting coach, on Youtube, entitled, HOW TO DO A BRITISH ACCENT CONVINCINGLY, (in its third segment on the RP 't' vs. the American 't').

    Confirming... At some time in the past, San Francisco had a African-American mayor.

    His e-mail address was "damayor@...".
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It seems to be escaping the attention of you guys that not only has "the" been mangled into "da" (it doesn't matter whether you consider this as slangified or accentified), but the word "are" has been suppressed. The only thing left to be unsure about is whether "da" stands or "are the" or just "the", or whether "you" stands for "you are", or whether "are" has just been elided independently.

    You da man!
     
    I vote for 'you' as a compression of 'you are,' or for '[are as] elided independently'-- I'm not sure how one would decide between these in the context of the OP.

    PS: "mangled"!:confused:

    ==
    Edinburgher post #8 in full.

    It seems to be escaping the attention of you guys that not only has "the" been mangled into "da" (it doesn't matter whether you consider this as slangified or accentified), but the word "are" has been suppressed. The only thing left to be unsure about is whether "da" stands or "are the" or just "the", or whether "you" stands for "you are", or whether "are" has just been elided independently.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    PS: "mangled"!:confused:
    Yes, mangled. Disfigured, marred. Call me twisted and dogmatic if you like. The only correct written rendering is "the", no matter how it might sound in any vernacular dialect. Of course, if you wish, in writing, to imitate that spoken dialect, mangling is permitted, but mangling it is.

    I'm not so keen on "da", actually. I find "de" more natural, reflecting the 'e' sound from "the".
    I have fond memories, from junior high in Canada, of William Henry Drummond's "De Stove Pipe Hole".
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I'm not so keen on "da", actually. I find "de" more natural, reflecting the 'e' sound from "the".
    I have fond memories, from junior high in Canada, of William Henry Drummond's "De Stove Pipe Hole".
    For what it's worth, the article "da" in the British and World English dictionary at www.oxforddictionaries.com, which defines it as "non-standard spelling of the, used in representing informal American speech," shows two pronunciations of the word: /də, da/, where /a/ is IPA /æ/ (as in "hat"). On the other hand, the American dictionary entry "da" shows only the pronunciation /də/.

    (Neither dictionary shows de for the.)
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Now that I think of it, "De Stove Pipe Hole" might be pronounced 'dee', in AE. So to say, a revision of "the" (sometimes pronounced thee).
    I don't think so, because there are plenty of places in that poem where the long 'e' is actually written as 'ee'.
    He's mak' it plaintee fuss about hees daughter Emmeline,
    An' till I mak de beeg for-tune, you never see ma face.
    jus' about dey're half way t'roo wit all dat love beez-nesse
    I believe it's an older or regional form, de, long 'e.'
    Certainly regional, namely Quebec Franglais, but I'm pretty sure the 'de' is intended to sound like ordinary short-'e' English 'the', so that only the 'th' became 'd', because of French-speakers' unfamiliarity with both voiced and voiceless 'th' sounds. We should probably look to the French article 'le' for guidance on how to pronounce the vowel in 'de'. This is pretty close to the short version of English 'the', i.e. schwa-like.
     
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