Query for Southern(er)s, Southrons, or...

Ellen Johnson ejohnson at BERRY.EDU
Wed Dec 19 17:49:46 UTC 2001

I guess that's me...

I think you may be onto something here.  In general, I agree with the
judgments, however, 1 and 2a are much less acceptable to me than 3a, 4b,
and 5b.  The verb seems to be the culprit, i.e. 1b "She ate her some
chitlins" would be fine, even for someone for whom eating chitlins is
not particularly indicative of good fortune.


Ellen Johnson
Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Dept. of English, Rhetoric, and Writing
Berry College, Box 350
Mt. Berry, GA 30149
ejohnson at berry.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Laurence Horn [mailto:laurence.horn at YALE.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2001 8:48 PM
Subject: Query for Southern(er)s, Southrons, or...

...anyone else in the relevant dialect:

We've spent some sporadic time discussing the construction extant in
parts of the South and Appalachia variously referred to as the
"Personal Dative" (Christian 1991), "Southern American Double Object"
(Dannenberg & Webelhuth 2000), dialectal or bound pronominal (e.g.
Sroda & Mishoe 1995), or ethical dative (various sources).  This
involves the appearance immediately after the main verb of an
ordinary objective pronoun (rather than a reflexive) coreferring with
the subject; generally a "real" object must also be present, and it
must be quantified.  The verb in question is not normally a
ditransitive.  Some sample cites (in each case, coreference between
subject and "dative" is assumed):

[musical exx.]
I married me a pretty little wife
I'm gonna buy me a shotgun, just as long as I am tall.
I'm gonna catch me a freight train.
Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil.  [underlying 2d person

[non-musical exx.]
He's gonna buy him a pickup.
I seen me a mermaid once.
She wants her some chitlins.
Papa needs him some new boots.
What I like is goats.  I jus' like to look at me some goats.   [title
of Sroda & Mishoe 1995]

Now the query:

On the assumption that the pronoun in question is not a true object
of the verb but a marker implicating that the action or event in
question represents success/good fortune for the subject, I've been
wondering if the following judgments (from this non-native speaker)
are on- or off-base.  (Feel free to replace these with clearer
examples of your own.)

(1)  *She fed her some chitlins.

(2)a.  *She gave her a big raise.   (vs. pandialectally OK:  She gave
herself a big raise.)
     b.  She got her a big raise.

(3)a.  *I caught me a cold.   [or maybe OK if I was trying to catch a
     b.  I caught me a catfish.

(4)a.  He shot him two squirrels.
     b.  *He (got drunk and) shot him two coonhounds (by mistake).

(5)a.  He got him a case of beer.
     b.  *He got him a case of the clap.

Thanks for your time & judgments.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list