Contraction in comparatives

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jun 20 15:36:57 UTC 2006

At 8:27 AM -0400 6/20/06, Mark A. Mandel wrote:
>Ed Keer <edkeer at YAHOO.COM> asks about
>   1. ??:  This pistol is as long as I'm tall.
>   2. OK:  This pistol is as long as I am tall.
>in puzzling over his judgement on
>   3. I'm gonna buy me a pistol just as long as I'm tall.
>from the Everly Brother's version of 'T for Texas'.
OK, I've checked both Jimmie Rodgers (the version on "The Best of the
Legendary Jimmie Rodgers", a 1965 RCA record, and Dwight Yoakum (on a
very nice tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers from a 1997 CD).  They
agree in delivering the line as indicated above, with "pistol"
(contra my claim yesterday, he did evidently have a very long pistol
in mind, or else he was very short) and with a clear contraction.
The shotgun I was recalling comes from a *later* verse in the same
song that includes a remarkable rhyme:

I'm gonna buy me a shotgun
With a great long shiny barrel [approximately = /bael/]
I'm gonna shoot that rounder
That stole away my gal.

Oh, and it was Blue Yodel #1 ("T for Texas").


The American Dialect Society -

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