Prescriptive Linguists

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Thu Jan 31 17:24:03 UTC 2008

I have decided to cave. It is clear to me now that whatever anyone says and
however they may say it are not matters to be subjected to any
correct/incorrect judgements. And since one of our number has written to me
privately to admonish me about calling someone else's English gibberish, I
have further decided that there is no such thing as gibberish. The G-word is
banned from my vocabulary. I have thrown off the shackles of syntax!
Structure schmuckture! I am free at last! It'll all be good! As, for
"Which Mary car did you put in the garage?"
"Which car Mary did you put in the garage?"
"Which car did you put in the Mary garage?"
"Which car did you put in Mary the garage?"
"Which car did Mary put in the you garage?"
"Garage put Mary in the which did car you?"
"The highwaymen augur accord rapidity." (Anagram)

Weird, but a lot closer to the unweird "git me some pork rinds" than the
Mary and the car business.

  Just to clinch this, I must ask William Salmon how he would paraphrase the
"Mary" example - and, even if he can understand it, does it sound perfectly


Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:

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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