[Ads-l] The dagnabbit effect strikes again. (Or, when the personal [dative] is political.)

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 5 19:13:43 UTC 2019

Cwazy dagnabbit! (


On Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 9:18 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu wrote:

> Elizabeth Warren is now being mocked left and (mostly) right on social
> media for her aside during her announcement for the presidency:  “I’m gonna
> get me a beer”.
> Cf. https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1080554654352793609
> We’re back in John Kerry country again, when the *obviously* elitist Kerry
> was mocked for his own Personal Dative.  Here’s the (right-wing) Washington
> Times shortly after the event:
> Mr. Kerry’s Ohio hunting adventure started last Saturday,when the senator,
> campaign entourage in tow, went into a grocery store and asked the owner:
> “Can I get me a hunting license here?” Even the phraseology sounded staged.
> Mr. Kerry ordinarily doesn’t talk this way, and his language sounded
> fake and patronizing— as if he was pretending to talk like someone from
> rural Ohio.   [WT, October 23, 2004]
> Kerry was subsequently savaged in numerous gleeful right-wing blogs and
> columns for his inauthentic modeling of “uneducated redneckese”, “hick” or
> “ignorant” speech, or
> “dumbed-down grammar”. Commentators wondered rhetorically, “Is poor
> grammar something that amounts to reaching out to them-there dumb,
> gun-loving right-wing
> rednecks?”  Kerry was widely portrayed at the time as having asked “Can I
> get me a huntin’ license here?” (and note the comment to this effect in
> Warner Todd Huston’s tweet in Twitterstorm), actual recordings of Kerry’s
> query at the time clearly confirm that he used the upper register velar
> nasal. In any case, two weeks later Kerry barely lost Ohio to George W.
> Bush and with it the election.  At least Warren is getting her PD out of
> the way early, for better or worse.
> In a paper I wrote on PDs a while back (you can find the link in this
> Language Log post by Mark Liberman,
> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1863), I cited the Kerry episode
> and, along the same lines, the criticism directed at Dan Fogelberg, the
> Midwestern singer-songwriter, for including this verse in his hit song
> “Auld Lang Syne”
> She said she’d married her an architect,
> Who kept her warm and safe and dry,
> She would have liked to say she loved the man,
> But she didn’t like to lie.
> One blogger complained: "Did she really say 'I married me an architect?'
> Or is Fogelberg, who seems capable of standard usage, the kind of guy who
> would say, 'Dag nabbit, she
> up ’n’ married her an architect’?"  (Still available at
> https://tinyurl.com/yczllsq3).  Whence “the dagnabbit effect”.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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