Double modal

Scot LaFaive spiderrmonkey at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 28 19:06:17 UTC 2006

I don't know. Most fellow Northerners that I ask about the double modal
construction seem to stop and scratch their heads when hearing it. At least
around here in Wisconsin it is quite noticeable and nearly unintelligible
(to us anyway). I've spent some time studying them recently and they still
seem ungrammatical to my internal dialect. But I figure if Lee Majors uses
them, they can't be all bad, can they?


>From: Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Double modal
>Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 13:49:49 -0500
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Double modal
>I'm not sure it's that noticeable, or off-putting, to Northerners.  A
>similar "double" is the Southern double complementizer "like that," as in
>"It seems like that we're in a mess in Iraq."  I made that up, but Southern
>Congressmen are heard using the form often--as would any normal Southerner,
>of course.
>At 01:19 PM 12/28/2006, you wrote:
> >Is that the same species as one of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a
> >redneck..." shibboleths,
> >
> >         _I used t' could'a'_
> >
> >?
> >
> >-jk
> >
> >At 09:35 AM 12/28/2006, Scot LaFaive wrote:
> >>---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >>-----------------------
> >>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>Poster:       Scot LaFaive <spiderrmonkey at HOTMAIL.COM>
> >>Subject:      Double modal
> >>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >>This weekend, while suffering through "Smoky Mountain Christmas"
> >>Lee Majors and Dolly Parton, I heard Lee Majors' character use a double
> >>modal ("might could"). This isn't thrilling (esp. considering that at
> >>one of writers is from the South as is Lee Majors), but it did stand out
> >>little. I was surprised that a cheesy, feel-good, mass market movie
> >>use a double modal that might frighten the Northerners.
> >>Just thought it was worth noting.
> >>
> >>Scot
> >>
> >>_________________________________________________________________
> >>The MSN Entertainment Guide to Golden Globes is here.  Get all the
> >>
> >>
> >>------------------------------------------------------------
> >>The American Dialect Society -
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

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