Date of Completion
Modern Languages (MDLG)
The perfective done (“She done tended the garden”) is an often-overlooked grammatical feature specific to relatively few dialects of American English, most prominently seen in Appalachian dialects. While the perfective done has been described in detail by linguists since the 1970s, and there has been a demonstrated decline in the frequency of use of the perfective done among Appalachian dialect speakers in the past fifty years, there is very little existing scholarship that investigates an empirical basis for the claim that this long-term variation in the use of done can be considered a true language change-in-progress. The present research reviews all available literature from the past fifty years that provides a quantitative account of the frequency of occurrence of the perfective done among Appalachian dialect speakers to ultimately suggest that the observed long-term variation displays regular differences in usage frequencies of the form by speakers of successive generations but that there is not sufficient evidence to definitively conclude that this variation is statistically significant enough to be considered a change-in-progress in Appalachian dialects. However, these regular differences in use of done provide a degree of evidence that a language change could be occurring in West Virginian varieties.
Horton, Julia and Muraco, Anna, "Investigating Language Variation and Change in Appalachian Dialects: The Case of the Perfective Done" (2020). Honors Thesis. 381.