more on Pittsburgh talk; with a digression on nanas

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Mon Oct 23 16:28:56 UTC 2000

"Positive anymore" is common throughout the middle of the country and is
rapidly spreading westward.  Again, see studies by Tom Murray (and Frank
Parker before him).  Variation may occur in where the 'anymore' is in the
sentence--initial, medial, or final.  Murray found it to be most dense in
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, but it's also at least as far west as Kansas
(according to him).  Interestingly, I heard it twice last spring in
California, in the speech of my aunt and uncle (siblings in their 70s, one
living in LA and the other in San Diego).  Since they grew up in (then)
"negative anymore" Minnesota and didn't go West until they were full adults
(one was about 40), it is clear that they picked up the positive form in
the new environment, where it must now be common (I have an attestation
from Oregon too).  After 20 years in Ohio, I find that I use it now and
then, and my colleagues from Akron and central Indiana use it frequently.

At 11:07 AM 10/23/00 -0500, you wrote:
>         Talking to my wife, a native Pittsburgh regioner, about the recent
>postings on Pittsburgh talk, reminded me of a quirk of her defunct
>mother's way of talking that had struck me from the first time I had
>heard it: the use of the work "anymore" in affirmative statements.
>For instance, "That is so expensive anymore!"  I would only use
>"anymore" in a negative context: "I can't afford that anymore."  In
>Doggie Nana's statement, I would use "nowadays" or "now", &c: "That
>is so expensive these days!"  (Or "That has gotten so expensive!")
>("Doggie Nana" because she had a dog; my mother, who had a cat, was
>"Kitty Nana".  These names were used in my own nuclear family to
>distinguish which Nana we had in mind: "Let's call Kitty Nana."  Each
>nana, as I remember, when addressed directly by a grandchild, was
>simply "Nana".  The two nanas were never in each other's presence.)
>         Another thing that Doggie Nana, the prescriptivist English teacher,
>never forgave me for was failing to understand the difference between
>"bring" and "take".  You were to use one word whan you spoke of
>carrying something from here to there, the other when speaking of
>carrying something from there to here.  This distinction made so
>little sense to me that within five minutes of being chidden for
>screwing it up, I would have forgotten whether I was supposed to
>bring something there and take it back, or take it with me and bring
>it back.
>         Anyone with observations on "anymore" or "bring/take"?

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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