Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Apr 11 14:34:30 UTC 2010

At 8:23 AM -0400 4/11/10, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>Michael Quinion wrote:
>>The leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron (Eton and Oxford), was
>>visiting a big bakery in Bolton last week. He made a joke about his
>>failure to make his own bread: "So it'll be back to boughten loaves in
>>future." This adjective (meaning shop-bought) isn't known in standard
>>British English, though it was once in the dialects of southern England
>>(almost completely defunct now, I believe). I'm wondering if Cameron might
>>have picked it up in the US. Some newspaper comments I've read suggest
>>that, though it's known, it's deprecated as dialectal or regional. What do
>>you say about its US distribution and status?
>MWDEU is good as usual IMHO:
>This includes a review of the DARE entry.
>I think most would find "boughten" rural or old-fashioned. I see the
>word discussed as "quaint" etc. in 20th century newspaper columns. But
>occasional apparently non-self-conscious examples (both 'participle' and
>'adjective') can be found in print from the 20th century, and even in
>recent Web usage.
>Even more so: "boughtened", "store-bought[en[ed]]".
Consistent with those points, I've heard it growing up, but always in
self-conscious/jocular use (chiefly in "store-boughten").  I wonder
if anyone has put together an overview of the distribution,
regionally and age-related, and gradual disappearance/marginalization
of the more general class of -en participial adjectives, including
"(be)shitten (trousers)" and of course my favorite, "spitten
(image)".  Even if "chaque mot a son histoire", there are probably
some parallels among these -en archaisms.  A number of -(e)n
participles are partially or fully retained in adjectival
use--boughten loaves, spitten images, [new-]mown lawns, graven
images, [clean-]shaven faces, [mis]shapen bodies, [un]proven
allegations--after they've completely or, as with "proven" largely,
fallen out of use as verbal past/passive participles.


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