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Recently I cracked my wife up by reading to her out of John McWhorter’s Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue where McWhorter describes in deadpan linguistic jargon how the word “ass” has become grammaticalized in Black English. I had never thought of that, but it’s apparent when you read McWhorter’s treatment of it. It is similar to the word “like” used as a quotative (the fact that there is a linguistic term for it makes it respectable, I guess). For a few people, not many, a linguistic analysis takes off some of the sheen of disreputableness attached to any speech form used by people who don’t live in big houses in the suburbs. As he says in What Language Is (p. 125-6), vulgarity does not cancel out structure, i.e. while the grammar mavens may decry the speech of other people as vulgar, incoherent, imprecise, and grating (one such said certain “mistakes” make his ears bleed well said but elitist), all those terrible solecisms follow firm linguistic rules.
We have seen the proliferation of the word “all” used adverbially as in, “I was all crazy and he was all mad and everything about it.” I remember “all crazy” from the 40s, but it turns out “all” was similarly wide-spread in such usage in the 13th century, and its only vestige is the phrase “all right”.
Some examples of “ass”: “My ass must have been crazy.” “Ain nobody tol’ his ass that.” “That other woman lived with his ass 12 years.” “She the one sat down and ate that whole pie with her greedy ass.” “She ain’ marrying his stupid ass.” SE has similar uses: “I worked my ass off” and “Tel him to get his ass out of here.” (NB: many sentences that are clearly BE will be uttered by Whites simply b/c BE has been mainstreamed through integration of schools and the media)
Helpfully, McWhorter provides a number of “rules” that apply to this usage, speaking more linguistically, “restrictions”, i.e where and how and when it cannot be used: one example: *Rosalie ass, where you at?” but “Rosalie, where you ass at?” In addition, he provides examples from other languages. Read the whole book; it’s very good.

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