may/might confusion

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Thu Jan 17 23:46:12 UTC 2002

This would explain the "seeming" lack of verb sequencing in a line in
"American Tongues," where a boot seller in Kentucky tells the buyer "he may
could wear it in a(n) 8 and a half."  I've listened closely many times and
I'm sure it's "may could."  So perhaps the can/could distinction still
holds, even while the may/might one is being lost.  "May can" would be
distinct from "may could" then, right?

At 02:01 PM 1/17/02 -0500, you wrote:
>In a message dated 1/17/2002 1:52:32 PM, ejohnson at BERRY.EDU writes:
><< do you think there is a concomitant shift to "may can" from "might could"?
>  I think so.  Ellen >>
>I never thought about that--might be. Or should I  say "may be"?

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

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