zero vs. "that" relatives

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Tue Dec 30 14:39:09 UTC 2008

From:    Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>

> All true, from your view of dialect. But WRT standard English, I'm an
> *observer* and not a speaker. My annoying experience throughout
> approximately six decades of life speaking and listening is that the
> presence of a BE speaker has no effect upon English as Northern white
> people choose to speak it, even when I have attempted to inject my
> intuitions into a conversation. At M.I.T., white students didn't give
> a second's thought to "correcting" my intuitions _on the spot_ when I
> had been asked for them by a fellow-student who was not to be a native
> speaker of English. It used to ass me to death. Damn! You'd think that
> at least they'd have waited till later, taken the foreign students
> aside and explained to them, outside of my presence, that the sE
> intuitions of the colored are untrustworthy by definition, since those
> people know the standard dialect only from books and not from
> immersion in some variety of it from birth.

Amen! but from a speaker of Southern White English, Wilson. I've had
syntacticians reject my intuitions about English (within the past few
days, in fact) because i don't have native intuitions about English.

My born to English-speaking parents in the US self still hasn't gotten
over how bizarre that is.


David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

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