What influence have West African languages had on the modern speech practices of people in the United States?
This topic has been debated at length by specialists of so-called "African-American Vernacular English" (AAVE) -- that is, the English of Black people in the United States. Some, such as the linguist J.L Dillard (1972), make the argument that it should be approached also a potential creole with a strong influence from West African languages. Another camp of scholars argues that this linguistic variety should be considered primarily an English dialect descended from the non-standard dialects of the former slaves' masters. Smitherman (1977) proffers a more sociological analysis that splits the difference. For her, the "double consciousness" of W.E.B. DuBois has also applied to the language of Black Americans; there has been a "push-pull" process--creolization from African languages and a decreolization in approaching White standards--that explains "Black Dialect" today.
Intervening in this debate is above my pay-grade and expertise. Nonetheless, a recent interview Lil Wayne got me thinking about the kinds of West African etymologies that people like Smitherman cite. In recounting a story of recent encounter at a basketball game, Weezy uses an expression that I wasn't familiar with in English, but that I recognized instantly from my knowledge of Manding. Let's tune in:
So Weezy's security guard pushes someone's hand off of him. This surprises him because when he looks over he sees that it was a real attractive lady--potentially a model--and therefore the kind of person that security should let approach. He then uses the be + like quotative to report his surprise:
"I'm like 'You too security, bro, like damn'" [the video below is cued to the utterance]
It isn't entirely clear whether Tune spoke up, gave the security guard a look or simply had thoughts that he is now recounting. Regardless, we all know that he was upset. And this not withstanding the fact that we might not be familiar with the expression "X too".
The reason this moment caught my attention was because of how closely this turn of phrase appears to be a calque or direct translation of a Manding and potentially West African turn of phrase. I don't want to argue that this is where the expression comes from necessarily, but the resemblance is striking -- at least for someone like me who had never heard it before in English.
You too! E fana! Toi aussi!
So extrapolating from Weezy's example, it seems that we have an expression "X too" which can be used as a means of expressing exasperation. Interestingly, I can't dig up any examples via Google or find anything on UrbanDictionary, but presumably we could insert any +animate noun into the X slot:
"You too security!" (You aren't handling things right)
"Coleman too!" (His examples are so boring)
In the case of Manding this kind of expression is quite frequent. Here's one example pulled from the Bambara corpus (from the document dukure-fatoya_ni_jigiya.dis.html)
e fana sa , n ko i tɛ dan dɔn ko la !
'You too, (I say) you don't know any limits (in an affair)!'
That translation is a bit awkward, but the idea being "What the hell, you don't know your limits". I wish I had other examples on hand, but this really is quite prevalent when discussing friends' or children's misdeeds!
This kind of usage is also quite frequent in West African French. See for instance the following headline criticizing Koffi Annan -- you can almost here the tchiiipppp (or suck-teeth) following toi aussi:
I had always assumed that this French usage stemmed from a calque from a West African language like Manding. Can any speakers of other regional language chime in with the prevalence of this expression in other languages? I'm wondering in particular for typologically unrelated languages like Mooré or Fulani. Is there an equivalent expression which can be literally be glossed as 'X too' but is used to express exasperation with someone?
And bringing things back full circle, can anyone speak to the prevalence of this expression in the United States? Do you use it? Are you familiar with it? Or hell, can you find it on the internet?