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

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Dec 19 20:26:46 UTC 2001

I'm mostly in agreement so far, but "managed to": does not for me
imply intending or trying. Sentences like "Well, you managed to go
get yourself in trouble again" imply that you have been inattentive,
imprudent, etc...., but not that you set out to get yourself in
trouble. Maybe originally ironic, but I doubt if that obtains now in
this construction.

My only other small quibble is with Don;s suggestion that the (only?)
accompanying kinetic-physiological stance for ironic delivery in this
vareety is deadpan (though I don't doubt its frequency).


>Re my:
>(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 cold?]
>     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.
>At 12:49 PM -0500 12/19/01, Ellen Johnson wrote:
>>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.
>Great; the prediction would be that the former two are out on
>grammatical grounds, while the latter ones are out pragmatically.
>>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.
>well, in this case, it would be successful fulfillment of an
>intention rather than necessarily good fortune.  The paraphrase for
>non-Southern speakers might be "managed to..."  The difference
>between "feed" and "eat" would be that "feed" must have an (indirect)
>object (*I fed some chitlins), and the "me" here doesn't count as an
>At 11:57 AM -0600 12/19/01, Donald M Lance wrote:
>>All these starred items could (as you imply in 3a) be possible if surrounded
>>by verbal context that would set them up as 'her' being equivalent to
>>'herself'.  Even so, the result is irony, particularly in 5b.  The syntactic
>>violation marks the irony even without suprasegmental or kinesic signaling.
>>The culture would call for deadpan kinesics for irony anyway.
>Right.  Again, "manage to" would work the same way:  "He managed to
>get a case of the clap (to fall down the stairs, to get himself
>shot,...)" implies that he was trying to do so.
>Thanks to both of you for the help.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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