false negatives

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Mon Jul 23 17:02:56 UTC 2007

At 10:59 AM 7/23/2007, you wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Joan H. Hall" <jdhall at WISC.EDU>
>Subject:      false negatives
>Of these [=false negatives], "so don't I" is the clearest example with a
>geographical restriction.
>Compare the Midland "I don't care," in response to an invitation or
>request, which actually means 'Yes, please.' It's in DARE Volume I at
>"care" B1.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Michael Montgomery gave a paper at the Appalachian Studies Association
meeting a few years ago entitled "A lot of mountain people are kind of
backward, but I don't care to talk to nobody"--to spoof the idea of the
"inarticulate mountaineer."  It means, as Joan suggests, that the speaker
"doesn't mind talking to anybody."  He followed this with 28 ways to say
'begin' using common verbs: take (to), go (to), fall to, break to,
etc.--all of which were innovative in American English, he claims.  In
contrast, he documents importations from Ulster/Scotch-Irish in a new
glossary called _From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritage of
American English_ (Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2006).  He
includes our recently discussed "needs washed/done" and positive "anymore"
(which he says more commonly means future "from now on" in Ulster vs.
present "nowadays" in AmEng), plus prep. 'till', 'wait on' (=for), 'piece'
(=distance), pl. 'you'ns' , 'whenever' for point of time 'when', and about
400 more.  A very neat collection.  My own and my students' studies have
found all of the above (except possibly positive "don't care") in the
southern/SE counties of Ohio.

Beverly Flanigan
Ohio University

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

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