Heard on The Judges II (_liftes_)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Thu Apr 3 19:37:45 UTC 2008

Another possibility: the influence of Biblical "lifteth" (occurs frequently in the psalms: e.g., "The Lord lifteth up the meek", ------ "He lifteth me up upon a rock," ---- "He lifteth up the fatherless and the widow."
So the speaker might have conflated standard English "lifts" with biblical "lifteth."  Wilson suspects that the speaker was "attempting to rise to a higher register in a formal setting." And what higher register would there be for the speaker than biblical speech?
Gerald Cohen


Original message from  Laurence Horn, Thu 4/3/2008 1:08 PM:

At 10:55 AM -0700 4/3/08, Brenda Lester wrote:
>I heard a young woman say "parentses" for "parents."
>   my friends and i have an ongoing joke about ingredientses
>   :/
>   bl

...and we've discussed Gollum's "What has he got in his pocketses?"
But these are all double plurals (jocular or not), which make them
very different from Wilson's "lift-es", which is neither a plural
noun (or indeed a noun at all) nor an instance of phonological -ses.
It doesn't strike me as a blend of "lifts + raises" either.
Hypercorrection, as Wilson suggests, seems like a reasonable guess,
but it's hard to be certain.


>"Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU> wrote:
>   ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: "Cohen, Gerald Leonard"
>Subject: Re: Heard on The Judges II (_liftes_)
>Or a blend (lifts + raises)?
>Gerald Cohen
>Original message from Wilson Gray, April 03, 2008:
>>  Mid-thirty-ish black man describing a fight:
>>  "He _liftes_ [lI at ftIz] me up an' drops me on the ground."
>>  I would have expected "lif's." Perhaps it's another example of
>>attempting to rise to a higher register in a formal setting.
>>  -----

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