Associative plurals

Geoff Nathan geoffnathan at
Tue Apr 5 10:16:22 UTC 2011

The 'suffix' -n them, or even nem was also common in white Southern Ontario English when I was growing up in the fifties-sixties, only attached to proper names. 
A French colleague (originally from Morocco) with whom Margaret Winters and I socialized used to refer to us as 'les Margaret', so it's probably pretty widespread in French too. 

Geoffrey S. Nathan 
Faculty Liaison, C&IT 
and Professor, Linguistics Program 
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT) 
+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics) 

----- Original Message -----

From: john at 
To: "Tahir Wood" <twood at> 
Sent: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 4:07:40 AM 
Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] Associative plurals 

Actually it's even more contracted. I was thinking about it and 
with a noun ending with a vowel the first schwa would be dropped-- 

Quoting Tahir Wood <twood at>: 

> >>> <john at> 4/5/2011 7:33 am >>> 
> I've heard Black Americans use a reduced form of 'and them' (pronounced 
> schwa-n-schwa-m) suffixed to names with an associative-type meaning 
> (Jackie-en-em='Jackie and the people with her'). I don't know how common this 
> is. 
> This is very common in colloquial South African English, although perhaps not 
> as contracted as is described above. 
> Tahir 

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