"Shouldn't ought"--and "might oughta"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 1 16:39:38 UTC 2005

At 2:33 PM -0700 7/31/05, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>On Jul 31, 2005, at 12:09 PM, Ron Butters wrote:
>>In a message dated 7/31/05 2:47:57 PM, zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
>>>I myself can't use things like "might could" unselfconsciously, but
>>>"shouldn't oughta" is just colloquial english for me.
>>My experience is that non-mutliple modal users who can say
>>"shouldn't oughta"
>>can also say "might oughta"--is this true for you, Arnold? It is
>>true for me.
>not for me.  "might oughta" is so out of my variety i'm not even sure
>what it would mean.
>arnold, who counts as from s.e. pa. (and i don't mean palo alto) for
>these purposes

I don't have "might oughta" either, and do have "shouldn't oughta" at
least passively, but my inference from the field work and reading I
did once on multiple modal dialects is that "might" in modal
sequences virtually always (i) occurs first in the sequence and (ii)
is paraphrasable by "maybe" or "perhaps", as a wide-scope epistemic.
So this would be "Mebbe you (etc.) oughta..."


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