Sick at/to/on/in

Roger Shuy rshuy at MONTANA.COM
Sun Apr 30 14:46:46 UTC 2006

In Alva Davis' 1948 U of Michigan dissertation, A Word Atlas of the Great
Lakes Region, he listed "sick to his stomach" as the  common Northern form
with "sick at his stomach" common in the Midland area. He considered them
almost mutually exclusive. I looked at the same forms in Northern Illinois
in 1962 where I found the Northern form fairly common in the Midland areas
of the state (PADS 38). Personally I grew up using neither of these, saying
"sick on my stomach."

Although this form appears on some checklists of dialect difference, it
hasn't been fully researched to my knowledge.

Prepositions offer severe challenges to learners of English as a second
language. For this construction my own foreign students produced what seemed
to me to be the most logical variant of all, "sick in my stomach."

Roger Shuy

The American Dialect Society -

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