A-prefixing (was First Names)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Apr 14 14:46:03 UTC 2002

At 9:01 PM -0400 4/13/02, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>>So long as the consonantal realization of /h/ is strong (probably
>>realized as significant high frequency features acoustically), there
>>should be no restriction.

I was (a-)wonderin' if there might be a semantic dimension here.
Granted I'm no more to the manner born and bred than Herb (below),
but it strikes me that "a-havin' a baby" (I have to "drop the -g" to
avoid register clash with A-prefixing) or in

"Joe-Bob is a-havin' a hootenanny tonight"

is more likely than, say,

"I'm a-havin' second thoughts about buyin' that pick-up"

I won't even try to guess at the relevant parameters, because these
judgments are so speculative.

>>In a message dated 4/13/2002 6:32:13 AM, preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU writes:
>><< "the missus was a-having a baby." >>
>>Is A-prefixing really permitted with HAVE? Sounds unnatural to me, but then
>>we didn't have much a-prefixing at all in east-central Iowa.

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