-body vs. -one

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Sun Jan 4 07:07:54 UTC 2009

-body is also about the only form you'll hear in Northern English and
Scots (and therefore Northern Irish) varieties, including Scottish
Standard English.  (cf. body = person in Scottish varieties, too).
these dialects were big influences on the Midland and South.

Paul Johnston
On Jan 3, 2009, at 12:41 PM, Murrah Lee wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Murrah Lee <mclee at MURRAH.COM>
> Subject:      -body vs. -one
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> I saw an old Sherlock Holmes movie, "Terror by Night," last night, and
> one of the characters-- Inspector LaStrade, I think--said that
> "Somebody (did something)" rather than "Someone (did something)".  I
> grew up in East Texas in the 1950s, and we always used the -body
> form.  However, I have lived in Iowa and Michigan as an adult, and
> there they generally use the -one form.  I assume that Southerners
> tend to use -body and Northerners -one. I wonder if someone can give
> insight into the cultural origins of the use of -body (as in somebody)
> vs. -one (as in someone).  I suspect it reflects that the South was
> influenced more by southern and southwestern England while New England
> and the Midwest by eastern England.
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