Things that need fixed

Carl.Mills at UC.EDU Carl.Mills at UC.EDU
Fri Apr 11 12:51:06 UTC 1997

I stand corrected (sort of).  When I mentioned that Peter Trudgill had
remarked that the American _need + past participle_ construction had a
counterpart in the UK, _want + past participle_, I assumed that because
Peter had done much of his early research in Norwich that was where he
had heard it.  As I recall, the discussion of such matters had been
prefaced with a lot of good Norwegian beer.  A Scots origin for the
construction would fit better with American dialect and settlement

Yesterday, I asked our local TESL director, a native of Britain (sorry,
I don't know exactly where) for "native speaker intuitions" on both the
_need + past participle_ and  _want + past participle_ constructions,
and she replied immediately "western Pennsylvania," going on to add that
she had never heard such constructions until she had started her Ph.D.
work at Penn State.

So Jenna Dalious and others who Pennsylvania, West Virginia, etc., as
places where _needs fixed_ etc. can be found are probably correct.  As
quite a few dialectologists, most notably Michael Montgomery, have
pointed out, Scots, Irish, and, especially, Ulster-Scots exerted a great
deal of influence on the English of the American highlands (the
Alleghanies, the Appalachians, and surrounding regions) since the
mid-to-late 18th century.  The resulting south midland dialects spread
to large areas of the country, including my own native western Oregon,
where the construction has long been established.


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