Prescriptive Linguists

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jan 31 13:46:11 UTC 2008

Strangely, that one has always made sense to me.  I think....

  Despite Bill's explanations and assurances, the "Mary" thing strikes me as the grammatical equivalent of the "devil's fork" illusion:

  To which the only sensible response is "What th'----?!"

  A quick search reveals a Devil's Fork in Arkansas, undoubtedly where the syntactical structure was born.


Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Charles Doyle
Subject: Re: Prescriptive Linguists

Speaking of dative uses that may be unfamiliar to speakers of some dialects: I have always been especially fond of this stanza, the first in a song by A. P. Carter (of the famous Carter family):

Oh I'll pawn you my gold watch and chain, love,
And I'll pawn you my gold diamond ring,
I will pawn you this heart in my bosom,
Only say that you'll love me again.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 20:15:31 -0500
>From: Laurence Horn
>At 5:16 PM -0500 1/30/08, Wilson Gray wrote:

>>Well, it does kinda, sorta depend upon what you're accustomed to hearing. When I was in the the Army, a fellow GI, a white native of Darien, Connecticut, and a Stanford dropout, was flabbergasted to hear a white, Southern cook tell him to "git you a tray." He couldn't believe that such a sentence could be spoken by any native speaker of English. "'Get you a tray'?! 'Get you a tray'?! What the fuck kind of English is that?!"
>>It sounds fine to me. I wonder what he would have thought of the black DJ who commented, "I'm jus' sittin' heah, eatin' own me a hamboiguh" or the blues line, "I laid down las' night, thankin' about me a mojo hane," abstracting away from the phonetics, of course.

>Or cf. the title of the following talk on the construction:
>Sroda, Mary Sue & Margaret Mishoe. 1995. "I jus like to look at me some goats": Dialectal pronominals in Southern English. Paper presented at NWAV 24 conference,

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