Missing PREP differing by dialect

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 2 17:45:33 UTC 2008

OTOH, I'd be willing to bet that 99.44% of BE speakers have never
heard or even heard of the forms without the prepositions. I'm not
sure when I first read these prepositionless forms - I read them
before I heard them; as you point out, the prepositional forms are not
restricted to BE speakers - or heard them, but it was fairly late in

 If I had to guess ... Well, I don't have to, but I'm going to,
anyway. My WAG is that the farther north of the Mason-Dixon Line that
you get, the less likely you are to hear the prepositional forms.

FWIW, I've come across the form "beshat" in Britwrite, here and there.


On Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 11:58 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>  Subject:      Re: Missing PREP differing by dialect
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  At 11:14 AM -0400 4/2/08, Wilson Gray wrote:
>  >WE:
>  >
>  >"He shit/shat himself"
>  >
>  >"He pissed himself"
>  >
>  >vs. BE:
>  >
>  >"He shitted _on_ himself"
>  >
>  >"He pissed _on_ himself."
>  >
>  >-Wilson
>  >--
>  Actually, the latter two forms are perfectly acceptable in varieties
>  of WE I'm familiar with, and there's a slight
>  semantic/pragmatic/register difference between the two versions.  If
>  I inadvertently allow a couple of drops to hit my shoe, I pissed on
>  myself, but I didn't piss myself.  This actually follows from the
>  general association with direct objects and "affectedness", as in the
>  difference between loading the hay onto the truck and loading the
>  truck with the hay.  I also suspect there may be another difference
>  here for many speakers besides that of degree-of-affectedness:
>  He intentionally shat/pissed on himself.
>  ??He intentionally shat/pissed himself.
>  Perhaps not all WE speakers share this latter intuition.
>  LH
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