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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 24 14:12:44 UTC 2016

> On Nov 23, 2016, at 11:28 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 9:39 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>> 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."
> "All that's good," to use a blast from the past, but your ass has no
> equivalent outside of BE for the highlighted phrase in
> "If she leaves him in the morning, _her [wishy-washy] ass_ will be drawn
> back into the marriage by noon!"
> I'm struck by a thought. Maybe _self_ is the standard equivalent:
> "If she leaves him in the morning, _her [wishy-washy] self_ will be drawn
> back into the marriage by noon!"

There are a couple of papers on that "X's ass" construction (standing in both for reflexives and ordinary pronouns)--

Beavers, John and Andrew Koontz-Garboden. 2006. A universal pronoun in English? Linguistic Inquiry 37:503–513.

Collins, Chris, Simanique Moody & Paul Postal. 2008. An AAE camouflage construction. Language 84: 29–68.

And there's also this on the quite different adjectival -ass suffix ("Get that ugly-ass junk out of here"):

Irwin, Patricia. 2015. Expressive meaning in an AAE attributive construction.  Language Sciences 50: 12–29.

I touch briefly on the relation between "X's ass" and personal datives (as we were discussing upthread) in

Horn, Laurence. 2008. I love me some him: The landscape of non-argument datives. In O. Bonami & P. Cabredo Hofherr (eds.), Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 7, 169-192 (http://www.cssp.cnrs.fr/eiss7/horn-eiss7.pdf).

where I cite attested examples "God loves his ass some kidneys" (= 'God loves kidneys') and "I need my ass some gingko biloba".


> That works for me only just in case that "wishy-washy" is present.
> "Stay yourselves on your backs!"
> That's out on the bleeding edge. I'd probably give it a straight-up fail,
> if I hadn't had a few hours to become accustomed to it.
> Oh, well.
> Youneverknow.
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=Ivt7vvb8OGjVq-Arej_fl45bQ3Wug7EJ1tWkFKEEt1E&s=R90z8OqvNVFCm9B-agAwC8oBV9TTMe_DIpuAfEgsuz0&e= 

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list