"I'm gonna get me a dog"

Matt Shibatani matt at rice.edu
Sat Oct 2 00:30:43 UTC 2004

Dear all,

   Please consult

Masayoshi Shibatani  "An integrational approach to possessor raising,
ethical datives, and adversative passives" in BLS 20 (1994) and
                                    "Applicatives and benefactives:
cognitive account" in Grammatical Constructions: Their form and meaning
                                      M. Shibatani & S. Thompson OUP (1996).

All the best,
Matt Shibatani

----- Original Message -----
From: "Suzette Haden Elgin" <ocls at madisoncounty.net>
To: <funknet at mailman.rice.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 7:40 AM
Subject: [FUNKNET] Re: "I'm gonna get me a dog"

> Clancy Clements wrote:
> The term 'ethical dative' is often used to name a similar phenomenon in
> Spanish, of the type
> Se      ME              murio'  el      gato.
> EMPH   1sg-dative       died    the     cat
> 'My cat died on me.'
> Esta    nena            no      me              come.
> this    little.girl     NEG     1sg-dative      eats
> 'This little girl is not wanting to eat (for me).'
> In Spanish, it seems more frequently in 1st and 2nd person than in
> 3rd. I don't know if anyone has studied the distribution of this in
> English. It'd be interesting to know whether the distribution is sensitive
> to person and number distinctions.
> ======
> Ozark English also has the "on me" construction, as in "My cat died on me"
> and "My barn burned down on me" and "This little girl is going all weird
> me and not wanting to eat" and so on. But I see no connection between that
> construction and the "me" in "I'm gonna get me a dog." Nor do I see
> anything "ethical" about the "me" in "I'm gonna get me a dog." Perhaps
> "ethical" is like "competence," and has a technical meaning I'm unaware
> of....
> Dr. Clements ask whether the construction is sensitive to person and
> distinctions; here's a range of examples.
> "I got me a new pickup truck yesterday."
> "We got us a new pickup truck yesterday."
> "You better get you a new pickup truck pretty soon."
> "You got you a new pickup truck, sure, but you didn't pay your mortgage."
> "Go get you some supper before it gets cold."
> "He got him a new pickup truck yesterday."
> "She got her a new pickkup truck yesterday."
> [Note: I'm hesitant about "They got them a new pickup truck yesterday,"
> have no idea why; something tells me that one has to go to the reflexive,
> which of course means I'd have to choose between "themselves" and
> "theirselves."  Maybe it's just example fatigue, from running through the
> set?
> Well.  I've got me this example that's gone funny-sounding on me.
> Suzette

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