Is this a good sentence?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 18 17:10:34 UTC 2013

On Jan 18, 2013, at 11:49 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> At 1/18/2013 11:04 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> On Jan 18, 2013, at 10:56 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> > This is so far out of my dialect that I feel I'm
>> > again in the Northern Scottish Isles and can't
>> > understand the speaker.  Please translate into
>> > standard New Yorkese (my dialect is pretty circumcised):
>> >
>> > "I love me some him."
>> 'I love him' (but the personal dative does
>> contribute a nuance typically described as
>> "subject involvement" or "benefactive", which is
>> why "I hate me some him" is much more marked)
>> > "This is dedicated to those who love themselves some heavy metal."
>> or as noted, "…to those who love them some heavy
>> metal", which is more natural for the actual
>> dialects in which this construction is at home
>> Again, just delete the pseudo-indirect-object.
>> You can if you like this of this as the
>> transitive counterpart of "Now I lay me down to
>> sleep" or "Hie thee hence", and there are many
>> cross-linguistic analogues (as in French "Je me
>> bois un verre")--all discussed in more detail than you want at the below links.
>> LH
> You're right.  But I have another
> question.  Although Larry has also dropped the
> "some", is there a difference between "I love me
> some him." and "I love me all him."?
Yes, the difference is the latter basically doesn't occur.  The constraint usually (but not always) observed in these personal datives is that the direct object must have an indefinite or existential determiner/article attached, so the "some" in such cases isn't really partitive, whether it occurs with a pronoun (Braxton's "I love me some him", or Terrell Owens' "I love me some me"), a proper name ("I love me some Jude Law", "My husband used to love him some Jack Daniels" —Halle Berry’s character to Billy Bob Thornton’s, "Monster’s Ball", "I love me some Crocodile Hunter"--reported here a while back by Mark Mandel), or a common noun phrase ("I love me a big man", "I love me some fat bitches", both attested, expressing a positive attitude toward generic large men and full-sized women respectively).   The "some" and "a" are only here in such cases because of the personal dative.  Thus we find a post beginning this way:  "I just love me some cats! Don’t you just LOVe cats?!…": !
  when the PD pronoun "me" is dropped, so is the "some".  (Sorry, the link is dead.)

What we don't get, or at least from most PD speakers, is definites ("I love me the/that big man") or universals ("I love me all cats", "I love me all him"), or bare plurals ("I love me big men").  There's some variation on this, but crucially "I love me some him" doesn't suggest that I love some parts of him and maybe not others, it basically just means I love him.  (There is at least one paper arguing that the "some", "a" in such cases isn't as semantically empty as I'm claiming, but this is probably more detail than you want already.)



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