Heard on The Judges II (_liftes_)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 3 20:10:17 UTC 2008

At 2:37 PM -0500 4/3/08, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
>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
>Gerald Cohen

Could be, but as Alison pointed out there are cluster simplifications
of plurals (toast-es) that seem to be based more on ease of
articulation than scriptural sanction...


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

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

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