Personal dative

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Sun Jul 15 04:38:38 UTC 2001

Growing up in southmost Texas, I was largely out of the reach of
"Appalachian"-type South Midland, but the structure is not uncomfortable
for me (i.e., I don't associate it with nonstandard or working-class
speech, though the joking stereotype is certainly recognizable as such;
I suspect that it was common on the Beverly Hillbillies). It is certainly
more economical than the reflexive (where that is even possible):

        I bought me/myself a new computer.
        I found me/??myself a coat I could wear.
        I caught me/*myself a really bad cold.

The objective (dative) form patterns like other pronouns:

        I'll find you a coat you can wear.
        I'll find him a coat he can wear.
        He found me a coat I could wear.
        She found her/herself a coat she could wear.

Also properly dative, but expressed with the locative "on" is the
"affected person" (usually adversely, interestingly):

        My car died on me last night.
        The computer crashed on me when I tried to use it.


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