[Ads-l] "were pick'n up"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Mar 1 23:49:35 UTC 2015

At 3/1/2015 03:54 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > On Mar 1, 2015, at 2:48 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> >
> > "Twenty-three shell casings were picken up on the street outside 
> the house."  Or perhaps "pick'n".
> >
> > Report of multiple shots from the street into a house, killing a 
> woman sleeping in her bed.  WBZ-AM (Boston) radio news.
> >
> > I have to hope this was merely a momentary Zungefehler, not 
> immediately corrected.
>Why hope for that?  I have to hope it was intentional, a relic of 
>the old passive participle, as has been argued for in the case of 
>"spitten image" (not to be confused with "smitten image" as my 
>autocorrect is urging on me).
>"Picken up" shows up in searches from the 19th c. on the string 
>"were picken up" in e.g.
>The bench was strewn with portions of the wreck. Kegs of ale were 
>picken up, and this beverage revi[v]ed many who were too weak to stand.
>Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 23, Number 3545, 8 August 1862
>But there's also this one, rather more recent, from a One Direction 
>blog, which doesn't involve a scan (although I suppose it may involve a typo):
>On the ride there, when you were picken up by your sister, you were 
>sitting with Niall, squeezing his hand due to nerves. His parents 
>were behind you and in the back were all the bags of luggage.
>I haven't looked through the others in detail; there are only 32 
>hits for "were picked up" in all.
>Slim pickens, I'll concede, especially since some involve mis-scans 
>while others represent what "should" be the active progressive, 
>"were pickin' up".

In context, the utterance was not the progressive, but the simple 
past, so not a slurred "were pickin[g] up".  My dialect is "were picked up."

>   But I'd like to think of "picken up" as a formerly established 
> and now dialectal relic variant like "store-boughten", "spitten", 
> "(be)shitten", etc.

A Boston media announcer using a dialectal relic?  I'm ashamed for my city.

>Still, I have to grant that its syntax makes "picken" less likely 
>here, given that the participle in the Boston radio example is a 
>verb, contrary to the general pattern.

Yes, a verb, not a participial adjective (if I've used the right 
term).  The verbal use was what especially drew my attention.  Even I 
might say "newly mown lawn," etc.


>This is from in an earlier (2010) posting of mine on a "boughten" thread:
> > Even if "chaque mot a son histoire", there are probably
> > some parallels among these -en archaisms.  A number of -(e)n
> > participles are partially or fully retained in adjectival
> > use--boughten loaves, spitten images, [new-]mown lawns, graven
> > images, [clean-]shaven faces, [mis]shapen bodies, [un]proven
> > allegations--after they've completely or, as with "proven" largely,
> > fallen out of use as verbal past/passive participles.

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

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