Hot news perfect question

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Tue Nov 17 15:56:29 UTC 2009

Serendipitously, moments after reading this post, I found myself, in the
process of transcribing an eighteenth century play, _The Prison Breaker_
(Anon., 1724), typing the following: (The speaker is "Blunder, an


_Blun_.  Well And [?] where is this same _Sbeppard_?  I want to be after
seeing him, for they say he'll be hang'd soon, and then the Devil won't see


Now isn't that a strange coincidence, my heart?

Robin Hamilton

(Looking again at the barely legible photocopy I'm working from, it's
possible the above should begin, ""Well _Ara_ where is this same ...")

> I think that "I'm after knowing X" can mean "I've just found out X", but
> I'm no expert. Anyway this interpretation doesn't particularly make sense
> in the context you cite. Is there any reason to believe this is an
> authentic usage and not some "Mock Irish English"? After all, the
> after-perfect is a stereotype of Irish dialects along the lines of
> invariant 'be' for African American English, and the latter shows up all
> the time in grammatically inappropriate (per AAE grammar) contexts in
> made-up samples of African American usage (e.g. It be hot today).
> -Matt Gordon

The American Dialect Society -

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