regional "most the CN"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 15 20:44:54 UTC 2009

At 3:31 PM -0500 12/15/09, Charles Doyle wrote:
>Somewhat (slightly?) analogous, I think of "a couple beers" (vs. "a
>couple OF beers") as midwestern. Have we discussed that
>construction, and its distribution?

I'm not sure how analogous.  I can say "a couple beers" (based on my
northeastern upbringing) with no problem but not "most the beer(s)".
Other informants around here, from various parts of the country,
aren't crazy about "most the books" but don't mind "most my life",
and also find these "of"-less expressions more likely in object than
subject position.  Maybe it's just a matter of extended elision:
once you go from "most of the..." to "most o'[@] the...", the move to
"most the" isn't that radical, and ditto from "summa the guys" to
"some the guys".  Still, I'm not aware of having heard it, or at
least of having noticed it.


>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 15:19:45 -0500
>>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf
>>of Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>)
>>One of our graduate students, from Cleveland, reports that he has
>>said "most the books" (= 'most of the books') all his life, and it
>>shows up with 1.9 raw g-hits.  Googling also pulls up "some the
>>books" (2.9 million) and "many the books", although Mike (from
>>Cleveland) doesn't find those possible, only "most".  (It looks
>>like most *(of) the hits for "few the books" are actually
>>irrelevant: " name a few.  The..." and the like.  But the hits
>>for "most", "some", and "many" seem to be mostly instances of this
>>construction, with what for standard (dare I say for most) speakers
>>seems to involve a missing "of".  Any common noun, mass or plural,
>>following the "the" would do as well here: "most the people", "most
>>the movies", "most the water",...
>>Does anyone know if this is a regionally robust phenomenon?  I
>>couldn't find anything relevant in DARE.
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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