Minnesota "come with"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Jun 27 16:20:35 UTC 2006

On Jun 27, 2006, at 8:26 AM, Barbara Need wrote:

>> John, I assume you mean "come with"/"go with" in which
>> no "object" follows "with"?
>> I discuss the locution (which I identify as a Chicago
>> phenomenon) and some (possibly) parallel constructions very
>> briefly in American Speech 72 (1997): 224.  Nothing
>> definitive, though.
>> --Charlie
> Also used in Milwaukee. I was told it was from German.

surely we've had this discussion before.  as i recall, "come
with" (without object) appears in a variety of areas where speakers
of germanic languages were once concentrated: german dialects,
scandinavian languages, and yiddish, in particular.  so it's a
substratum feature, noticeable in descendants of speakers of the
original languages who don't themselves speak those languages *and*
in many others who picked it up from those descendants, as part of
the "local dialect".  (i also recall that "go with" is sometimes said
to be more restricted than "come with".)

the result is a very odd pattern of geographical distribution, made
even more complex by the fact that just because a substratum feature
survives in one place doesn't mean it's going to survive everywhere;
some descendants of speakers of germanic languages don't have the
feature.  it certainly wasn't prevalent in the pennsylvania dutch
english around me in my childhood; i first noticed it in the speech
of jewish friends from the new york area.  (it might be that people
around me with very heavily pa.-dutch-influenced english used "come
mit", but i don't recall the fully anglicized "come with".)

this causes me to wonder about the distribution of the question-tag
particle "ain't?" (and its emphatic variant "ai not?" -- both usually
with high rising intonation), as in
   You're goin' now, aint?/ai not?
this was a very noticeable feature of pa. dutch english in my
childhood, though already being stigmatized as rural -- a "dumb
dutch" feature.  (to be fully authentic, "now" should be pronounced

arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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