"like that"

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Sun Jan 14 20:27:01 UTC 2001

At 02:47 PM 1/14/01 -0500, you wrote:
>>I've heard it too, occasionally.  Although many years ago I knew a guy who,
>>instead of the annoying "ya know" after every other
>>word, he'd put in the annoying "and like that" - but that, too, is
>Sounds like the Pittsburghese "n' at" -- which got a lot of hits in Swedish
>when I spelled it  "annat"
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It isn't the same at all.  It's simply a double complementizer, like "as
if" and "so that."  It's regionally restricted, as far as I know, to the
central South (Tennessee and southward, maybe in Texas also--I've hear GW
Bush use it); Bethany Dumas, Don Lance, and others should be able to
pinpoint it better than I can.  When I give it in questionnaires, in a
sentence like "It seems like that no one writes letters anymore," very few
of my students from Ohio accept it.  The old "as if" is disappearing too,
of course, giving way to "like" as both preposition and
conjunction/complementizer.  Thus, if "that" were dropped from the above
sentence, leaving "It seems like" alone, no one would have a problem; nor
would they if "like" were dropped leaving "that" alone.  (I'm still an old
"as if" user, but I seldom hear it now.)  Such double forms go way back in
the history of English, by the way.  And the pronunciation would be [thEt]
(no eth available), not the [thaet] of Rima's and Daniel's examples.

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

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