Most Notable Quotations of 2008

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Dec 10 18:24:18 UTC 2008

On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 1:15 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> At 2:04 AM -0500 12/10/08, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>"I've got this thing and it's [bleep]ing golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just
>>not giving it up for [bleep]in' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and
>>I can always use it. I can parachute me there."
> Beyond the bleeps and the colorful instance of negative concord (I
> was getting tired of "Ain't no cat can't get into no coop" and "I
> can't get no satisfaction", so "I'm just not giving it up for
> [bleep]in' nothing" will be a breath of fresh air), there's the
> curious pronominal in the last sentence, which isn't a personal
> dative (no direct object) and isn't a contrastive focus pronominal
> ("I'm just [bleepin] worrying about *me*").   What it's more like is
> the physical displacement pronominals in "Now I lay me down to sleep"
> and "I sat me down" (> 15000 google hits; cf. also "I set me down",
> with 960 g-hits from country lyrics like "I set me down beside her").
> As Gregory Ward just pointed out to me, 'there's a use of the
> non-reflexive with verbs of transport. So, you get "I could move me
> over two spaces" in an on-line game. Or "I have no trouble taking me
> there" (in the context of "Don't go there"). Or "I put me there on
> purpose" (in explaining a seating chart). I've always taken these to
> be a kind of dual persona use: I'm transporting my physical self to
> some location.'

Note also that elsewhere in the wiretap excerpts Blagojevich uses the
plain old reflexive for "send":

"Unless I get something real good [for Senate candidate 1], shit, I'll
just send myself, you know what I'm saying."

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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