Don't let's

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 17 00:38:13 UTC 2008

At 4:12 PM -0800 1/16/08, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>For the record, I'm not drawing a correlation or stating they are the
>same, simply attempting to describe the reaction I have.
>Also for the record, here's what I originally wrote:
>>I'm American and I consider it ungrammatical. BB
>I think most of this thread was caused by my phrasing. I should have
>said "...and it's ungrammatical for me" as you suggest. I therefore make
>it so! Clearly, the way I wrote it implies a wide-ranging judgment that
>I didn't intend.
>FWIW, I'd in particular like to hear from people in their twenties or
>younger on "don't let's" as age may very well be a factor.

It's not only age, or geography.  My wife, who's 1.5 years older than
I am and also from N.Y. and Connecticut, is not a "don't let's"
speaker.  I'd ask my kids but they're not around at the moment, and
the cats are mum.


>Laurence Horn wrote:
>>At 2:33 PM -0800 1/16/08, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>>>As far as I can tell, it seems to be akin to doubling up modals, similar
>>>to saying "I must should". (I know people use that in some dialects, but
>>>it is still seems ungrammatical for me.) BB
>>Well, it might be, but there's no correlation in terms of who finds
>>these grammatical.  (I don't speak double-modal natively, but I might
>>could learn.)  I'm still not sure (maybe this is what Ron was getting
>>at) that it makes sense to describe a construction that's widely
>>attested and that many speakers are comfortable with as
>>"ungrammatical" tout court, as opposed to "ungrammatical for me".
>>Maybe this is a tempest in a teapot, but while I'm already somewhat
>>uncomfortable with the use of "ungrammatical" for forms that are
>>dialectally restricted, I guess I'm especially sensitive to it when
>>it's my own dialect which is so characterized!  Don't let's quarrel
>>about terminology...
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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