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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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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

Thanks for any information.

Reply: This is a very late reply (my apologies).

To answer your question, the verb "stay" meaning 'to live' is a documented feature of
AAVE. It is specifically mentioned in Lisa J. Green's "African-American English: A
Linguistic Introduction" (a book I recommend to anyone interested in AAVE).

According to one her notes, "stay" is used in other locations such as New York City.

P.S. I would also recommend "African American English" by Mufweme, Rickford, Bailey
and Balogh. Both books are in paperback at Amazon. The price is over $45 for a new
copy (cheap for academia), but can also be found cheaper in used versions or Kindle.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
Date: 25-Jul-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: 'Stay' for 'Live'    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (01-Mar-2013)
  2. Re: 'Stay' for 'Live'    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (05-Mar-2013)
  3. Re: 'Stay' for 'Live'    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (01-Mar-2013)

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