[Ads-l] Facebookery: "Stay _y'all ass_ on your back!!!"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 23 14:39:24 UTC 2016

> On Nov 23, 2016, at 12:38 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> From a comment by a black East Texan.

Nice datum, Wilson!
> Is there an equivalent intensifier in standard English? The literal
> "*Stay you on your backs!"
> is no good.

Not in what would be considered "standard English", but in other varieties as an intransitive counterpart of the personal dative we've discussed in various threads, a natural construction in Black and/or Southern and Appalachian varieties ("She needs her a new pick-up truck", "(You should) get you a laser printer", "Don't you love you any man"--see http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu/personal-datives <http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu/personal-datives>).  Personal datives are transitive, but their intransitive cousins have been around since Old and Middle English and are still found in "Now I lay me down to sleep" or "Sit you down", with the "dative" pronoun co-referring with the (explicit or implicit) subject but with no direct object.  "Stay you on your backs" would be an example of this, and I suspect it wouldn't be any worse for speakers of the relevant varieties as "Sit you down on the sofa" or "He sat him down"--sort of archaic-sounding to those like me who don't speak the relevant dialect ("He sat him down" is from Judges 19:15, KJB) but not impossible for those who do.    Here's one hit for the type you mention with "stay":

As we Norfolk people say "stay you down there boy".
http://stocktwits.com/shinobi_brian/message/3224265 <http://stocktwits.com/shinobi_brian/message/3224265>


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list