debate on "you did good"
Jewls2u at WHIDBEY.COM
Wed Aug 15 14:53:39 UTC 2001
This morning as I finished making my pot of coffee, my two year old
exclaimed, "You did it! Mama made coffee! Good job!"
When I have heard or used "you done good" or "I done good" it's been as a
compliment. An atta-girl or atta-boy, when you want to say "good job" but
not be over the top about it. Generally in a professional situation, but
also in doing a good deed. Where you feel good about what you did, or what
was done, but a certain amount of humbleness is appropriate.
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of Beverly Flanigan
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2001 2:41 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: debate on "you did good"
I can't at the moment think of another such example of "confusion" between
adjectives and adverbs. My point is that there's no confusion in intended
(or received) meaning with 'good'; the adverb 'well' is simply becoming
'good' in more contexts. The first language people are hung up on
"propriety," it seems to me; only the traditional grammar-book notions
apply. Ironically, only the second writer, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, seemed
to recognize that 'good' could be an adverb when she observed a child
saying, in the comparative, "I did better." The child clearly didn't
interpret 'good' as a noun = 'a good thing'! Therefore I wouldn't say the
child learned a "wrong" form at all when it made the right interpretation
At 05:53 PM 8/14/01 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 08/14/2001 5:09:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU writes:
> > The info-childes list (on first language acquisition) has been
> > morphological regularization by children, and the interpretation of
> > like "you did good" came up.
>There is Tom Lehrer's line in his song "The Old Dope Pedlar":
> "Doing well by doing good"
>where "doing well" in context seems to mean "making a comfortable income"
>Seriously, you say " phrases like "you did good" "
>Could you give examples of a couple of other phrases in which children
>learning EFL (sorry, English as a First Language) confuse adjectives and
>adverbs? IF "did good" is unique then it would reflect confusion between
>adjective "good" and adverb "well" among the older people the child is
>learning from. If it is NOT unique, then it might well indicate a
> - Jim Landau
Beverly Olson Flanigan Department of Linguistics
Ohio University Athens, OH 45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568 Fax: (740) 593-2967
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