Trivia

Hard

The Sentence “Where You At?” Is An Example Of A?

Genitive
Affricate
Misnomer
Zero Copula

Answer: Zero Copula

Zero copulas are an interesting linguistic phenomenon wherein the subject and the predicate are joined without a copula—a verb or verb-like word that links the two together. In sentences like “The sky is blue” or “The bus is gone”, the verb “is” functions as a copula linking the two parts of the sentence together. If your only language is English, you may be struggling to think of a copula that isn’t some form of “to be”, like “is”, “was”, “were”, and other variations—don’t worry, you’re struggling for a reason since English doesn’t have any other copula words.

The absence of a copula in a sentence where it would otherwise be prescribed by the grammatical rules of a given language is known as a “zero copula” and is found, in some fashion, in a wide variety of languages including Japanese, Russian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Arabic, Hawaiian, American Sign Language, and some varieties of Caribbean creole languages as well as African-American Vernacular English (AAVE).

Within the context of a given language, the use of a zero copula is always governed by the ability of the listener to understand the context clearly without the copula as well as language specific grammatical rules. In Russian, for example, you can drop the copula in the present tense but not the past tense, thus a sentence that would translate to “He is now at work.” could be shortened to just “He at work.” with no loss of meaning. In African-American Vernacular English, likewise, the copula can be dropped if using the present tense, the meaning is clear, and if the copula could have been contracted in Standard American English.

In the case of the sentence found in today’s trivia question, both as an example of a zero copula in AAVE and as the catchphrase from the popular mid-2000s Boost Mobile phone ads, “Where you at?” is a zero copula because “are” is dropped from “Where are you at?” and only works because “where are” can be contracted to “where’re”.

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Christmas Films Was Originally Released In The Spring?

Trivia

Hard

Which One Of These Iconic Video Games Was Originally Planned As A Mac Exclusive?

Trivia

Hard

The Only Country In The World With Three Capital Cities Is?

Trivia

Hard

What Did 19th Century Japanese Aristocrats Dye Black As A Status Symbol?

Trivia

Hard

The First Athlete To Be Disqualified From The Olympics For Doping Used Which Of These Substances?

Trivia

Hard

Dungeons & Dragons Was Originally Known By What Name?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Country With No Permanent Rivers Is?

Trivia

Very Hard

The First Television Advertisement Was For?

Trivia

Easy

Which One Of These Common Idioms Was Originally An Advertising Slogan?

Trivia

Very Hard

What Was The First Computer With Internally Stored Programs?