Preposition deletion

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sun Nov 30 18:03:22 UTC 2008

On Nov 30, 2008, at 8:39 AM, Grant Barrett wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Grant Barrett <gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG>
> Subject:      Preposition deletion
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The sentences below come from a listener to the radio show, who says
> she remembers them from her family in the 1950s.
> "let's go across the park" = let's go across the street to the park
> "let's go down the basement" = let's go down the stairs to the
> basement

i'd gloss these as 'let's go across [from here] to the park' and
'let's go down [from here] to the basement', with no "NP deletion"
involved, just a suppressed P "to".

> I believe I've read something about this sort of preposition deletion
> in the last few years, but I can't get enough purchase on the key
> elements of it to get fruitful results online or in my library.
> Any ideas as to whether this is a common dialect feature and if it's
> been discussed elsewhere?

i think i recall similar examples from my childhood in Pa. Dutch
country.  the examples i've googled up seem to be fairly widely
distributed.  but it might be a scots-irish thing.  here are a few:

   For instance lets say in real life that you went down the grocery
store and the owner has a shotgun and he is holding it (because you
live out in the middle of no where) and ...

   Speaking of Chianti, I went down the store to buy a couple of
bottles earlier today.

   ... but then got up late (you know how it is, holidays and all)
then maybe went down the store for some milk, sat around reading the
paper. ...


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