Heard on The Judges: "tell NP said"

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Thu May 8 18:57:14 UTC 2008

Is this related to the Gullah/Caribbean Creole use of "seh" as a
complementizer, roughly equivalent to "that"?  Can it occur with
verbs NOT involving speaking?

Paul Johnston
On May 8, 2008, at 11:31 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Heard on The Judges: "tell NP said"
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> Everybody who cares knows about the BE (and general SE, judging by
> Comedy Central's good ol' boy comics) "tell NP said" construction.
> A fancy version spoken by a sixty-ish black woman:
> "He _had a conversation with me said_ he would get a credit card
> for me ..."
> In various readings, I've come across the eye-dialect BE "becase" and
> I've wondered what it was meant to represent. This same woman used a
> pronunciation that sounded to me like [bikez] alternating with,
> perhaps, [bikEz]. She also pronounced "power" as [pauv@] alternating
> with [pauw@], i.e. [-auv@] alternating with usual (but becoming ever
> less so - a casualty of desegregation, no doubt - with [au] being
> replaced by sE [aeu]) [-auw@]. I've heard this kind of pronunciation
> used by Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc., in
> singing, but this is first time that I can recall hearing it in
> ordinary speech.
> -Wilson
> --
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -----
>  -Sam'l Clemens
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list