"Here's you a dog"

Wed Mar 7 00:05:19 UTC 2012

        This sounds nonstandard but colloquial to me, from growing up in south central Kentucky (Adair County, 1960s and 1970s).  It was not something that an educated person would be likely to say, but it would not have received any more attention than any other nonstandard but colloquial usage.  It did not occur to me that it was a particularly notable phrasing.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 1:52 PM
Subject: "Here's you a dog"

Ben Zimmer, knowing my interest in collecting weird personal dative related phenomena*, sent me a link to this interesting item in a blogpost on the Arrant Pedantry blog:


which in turn links to this "Here's you a dog" blogpost (which of course now contains a "pingback"--a nice lexical item itself, by the way--to Arrant Pedantry:


The two blogs mention Kentucky and Utah as loci for this "Here's you a construction" construction.  This isn't a personal dative as such, since the benefactive pronoun isn't coreferential with the subject.  In fact, it looks more like an ordinary indirect object in a frame that for mainstream speakers doesn't allow one, but it's also reminiscent of

(i) benefactive datives (or malefactive/adversative ones), often limited to pronouns, that aren't coreferential with the subject but mark "affectees", found in various other languages, including most Romance and Germanic ones (while some languages, including Hebrew, have both coreferential and non-coreferential varieties

(ii) adversative prepositional phrases like "It rained on me", "My dog/computer/grandmother (up 'n') died on me" and the adversative passives like "I was rained on"

(iii) benefactive indirect objects subcategorized for by some verbs, as in "She built him a new house", "Do me a favor", paraphrasable like (I assume) "Here's you a dog" by a "for"-initial PP.

My questions:  Does anyone know of anything written about this construction?  And does anyone know anything about it?  (its geographical range, its syntactic contexts, its formal possibilities, its meaning nuances...)   It may be in DARE, the OED, or other sources, but I'm not sure where to look.  Is it covered in LAGS?


*Oops, modifier(-)hyphen(-)paralysis strikes again:  is it personal-dative related phenomena? personal dative-related phenomena? PD-related phenomena?

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