Re: This is also stupid

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As you might imagine, linguists have devoted an enormous amount of time to studying this issue. I haven't paid any attention to that research, though, so I can't say what they've found out about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:48 PM
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But you were my only hope!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:49 PM
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So linguists are the bookish 14-year-olds who never encountered either The Lord of the Rings or Atlas Shrugged?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:51 PM
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Yeah, sorry. That kind of research, and the time devoted to it, played a large role in my decision to leave linguistics. If you look in some of the major linguistics journals over the past twenty years or so there will be a lot of articles on this sort of thing. You might have to read some sort of introduction to generative syntax to understand them, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:51 PM
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3: Well, some of them encountered The Lord of the Rings and became rather different sorts of linguists, but for the most part, yeah.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:52 PM
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I don't remember a discussion of this phenomenon in The Lord of the Rings.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:54 PM
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6: Someone didn't read all the appendices.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:55 PM
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On the contrary.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:55 PM
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It is this sort of mountain on top of which I will not tell, and up myself I will not fuck.


Posted by: Winston Smith Churchill | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:56 PM
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The fascinating subtlety must have something to do with the commands being figures of speech and not actually commands.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:57 PM
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"Go get me a pig's foot and a bottle of beer" is a figure of speech?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:58 PM
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They're commands. They may not technically be imperatives.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:58 PM
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I think the problem is more that it doesn't make sense for an imperative to have a past tense -- it's innately future oriented.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 12:58 PM
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"Go get me a pig's foot and a bottle of beer" is a figure of speech?

Otherwise wouldn't "I went and got him a pig's foot and a bottle of beer" mean compliance?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:00 PM
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But LB, there does exist a report of the fulfillment of the imperative "sit down", namely, "he sat down", which is in the past tense.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:00 PM
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GREAT, NOW I HAVE TO USE THIS USERNAME FROM NOW ON. GO GET YOUR POTATO PEELER AND GO WAKE UP ZERO, YOU LAZY ASTERISK DOLLAR FUCK AT CENTS AND PERCENT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:00 PM
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5: A guy I went to hs with shows up in the History Channel, etc. talking about elvish and the tongues of Mordor or whatever.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:01 PM
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"Go get me a pig's foot and a bottle of beer" is a figure of speech?

It's a euphemism.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:01 PM
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14: the question is, does "he went and φed" correspond to "go φ!" as "he φed" corresponds to "φ!" simpliciter? As I said, it doesn't seem that way to my ear.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:02 PM
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19: I think it does. "Go get me" is just a colloquizalization of "Go and get me".


Posted by: OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:03 PM
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Don't call me simpliciter!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:04 PM
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Are "go sing!" or "go get me a pig foot and a bottle of beer" just syncopated versions of "go and sing!" and "go and get me a pig foot and a bottle of beer!"?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:04 PM
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OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL seems to think so, and is an authority on these matters.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:04 PM
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"He went and fucked himself" seems like a perfectly fine way to indicate compliance with "go fuck yourself" (bearing in mind that it's a figure of speech). "I went and got him a pig's foot and a bottle of beer" seems like a perfectly fine way to indicate compliance with "go get me a pig's foot and a bottle of beer". "He's going to go and tell it on the mountain" doesn't indicate compliance with "go tell it on the mountain", but "he went and told it on the mountain" does. (I'm not sure why you used a non-parallel construction for this one of the three examples.)

So I don't get your point.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:07 PM
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Are "go sing!" or "go get me a pig foot and a bottle of beer" just syncopated versions of "go and sing!" and "go and get me a pig foot and a bottle of beer!"?

Syncopated?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:07 PM
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Does the "go" add any meaning to sentences like "Go sing!" etc. ?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:07 PM
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(bearing in mind that it's a figure of speech).

Irrelevant. Obviously what follows "go" needn't be a figure of speech.

(I'm not sure why you used a non-parallel construction for this one of the three examples.)

Likewise, on reflection.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:10 PM
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Does the "go" add any meaning to sentences like "Go sing!" etc. ?

Yes. You certainly wouldn't say "Go stay right here" but you might say "Go stay over there."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:10 PM
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26: doesn't "go sing!" generally mean "go [somewhere implied] and sing" (on stage, in the other room, whatever). I wouldn't say "go sing!" to someone who I wanted to stay put and start singing.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:11 PM
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It's really convenient that the sole person here known to have any real linguistic knowledge has disclaimed any expertise in the particular phenomenon.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:12 PM
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You're saying Teo has never fucked himself?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:12 PM
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29 gets it right. I can imagine a world where "Go" would be an accepted shortening of "Go ahead", but we do no tlive in that world.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:12 PM
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I wouldn't say "go sing!" to someone who I wanted to stay put and start singing.

But you might say "he went and sang" without implying that he budged an inch.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:13 PM
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29 gets it right.

No! 28 gets it right first!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:14 PM
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33: But that would be shorthand for "he went [ahead] and sang".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:14 PM
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"he went and sang" without implying that he budged an inch.

Yeah, but it's a temporal "went", I think. He started singing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:15 PM
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25: Shortened by dropping things out of the middle.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:16 PM
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FUCK AT CENT AND STAR DOLLAR, HEEBLE. NOW GET ME OFF THIS CLIFF SAPLING.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:16 PM
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37: But syncopated doesn't mean shortened, does it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:16 PM
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Off to go teach!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:17 PM
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39: Yes, it does. (It also means off-beat bossa nova rhythms, etc.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:18 PM
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28: Heebie is unfamiliar with the work of the late, great Rap Replinger.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:21 PM
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I call adhoccery on 38.

Also, ||

tripe tacos, so good.

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:25 PM
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Syncope, apocope, Hassenpfeffer Incorporated!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:30 PM
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30: ow!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:34 PM
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Oops.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:35 PM
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Anyway, I also am not a syntactician. But basically the things I would start thinking about here are (a) there are two different words "go" in English, one content (to move from a place to another) and one function (I'm going to sit here for 5 minutes).

and (b), you can't have a bunch of verbs in a row all with tense on them.

I think both of these two ideas are related to the OP.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:39 PM
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45: Cecily, I'm sure nosflow just up and slipped.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:40 PM
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further to (b), I think the "go" in the first type of sentence is imperative and the other verb (fuck, tell, get) are infinitive.

In the second sentences, you could say "he went and fucked himself" or "he fucked himself" but you can't have "went fucked" because this is Too Many Tenses. So it isn't related to the relationship between the first and second sentences, it is just related to general English constraints on conjugated verbs.

I THINK.

I also am kind of out of it and in bed sick with the Dreaded Lurgy, so who knows- I might be hallucinating this whole comment thread for all I know.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:42 PM
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47: I am a sin tactician, master of cunning depravity.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:42 PM
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He went to the mountain, whereon he told it.

He went to the goat, etc.

The "go" imperative implies that this thing is to be done elsewhere - sometimes that elsewhere is defined ("on the mountain") - sometimes it is not. So to comply, one goes somewhere else and does that thing.

I went to the kitchen and found a pig's foot and bottle of beer, and brought them to ben.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:43 PM
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I might be hallucinating this whole comment thread for all I know.

If you're hallucinations get this dull, it might be time for better drugs.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:44 PM
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(b), you can't have a bunch of verbs in a row all with tense on them.

Ok, but what about for instance "this window needs washed"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:46 PM
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So what if some stupid people had already brought ben his pig's foot and beverage?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:46 PM
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Also, I don't know anything about this, but can you even have an imperative "go" (in any form) in a sentence that is declarative and not imperative? Maybe, maybe. Time and the Reverend Chomsky will tell.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:46 PM
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If you're hallucinations get this dull, it might be time for better drugs.

If your grammar is this bad, maybe you should just shut up.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:48 PM
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Also, I don't know anything about this, but can you even have an imperative "go" (in any form) in a sentence that is declarative and not imperative?

Certainly!

I told him, "go away, you smell!".

You will tell me that is cheating, and I will answer: yes, it is true that I have produced this sentence only by embedding the imperative "go" in a quotation.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:49 PM
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53: A colleague of CA's was talking about a dress that "needs hemmed." I was intrigued.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:49 PM
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"washed" isn't a verb there, it's an adjective that describes the window.

I think! In that dialect, can you say the window needs washed by someone?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:49 PM
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It's a regionalism from Pittsburgh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:51 PM
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57 I should have said "clause" instead of "sentence", especially since I was talking to you.

I would probably not say you were "cheating". It seemed more like "losing track of the issue at hand". On purpose? Who am I to judge.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:52 PM
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neb-nose or nebby-nose (also nebshit) n. the kind of person who is always poking into peoples' affairs (Cassidy and Hall 1996).

Heh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:52 PM
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Not just Pittsburgh. It's in my idiolect.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:53 PM
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60: The person who said it to me was from Indiana, I think. Man, and it is all over the interwebz.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:53 PM
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I would probably not say you were "cheating". It seemed more like "losing track of the issue at hand".

I would call it cheating because I "lost track" on purpose in order to create a sentence that met the technical criterion while obviously not being to the point.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:54 PM
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Ok, fine. It's a regionalism strongly associated with Pittsburgh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:54 PM
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52: this is exactly the kind of cruel trick my hallucinations are constantly playing on me. Constantly! I need new mitochondria is what I need. Ones that like hallucinations about aquariums, or the circus, or something else calm but trippy.

Or drugs might accomplish that, I guess.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:57 PM
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63: well? Is "washed" a verb? Can you say a thing needs washed by an agent?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:58 PM
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Google suggests yes!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 1:59 PM
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69: are you sure? That doesn't seem to be what it is suggesting to me.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:01 PM
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I heard "needs done" first in OH, said by someone from NC. Yeah, needs done by somebody.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:01 PM
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"Needs washing" is grammatical. "Needs to be washed" is grammatical. "Needs washed" is not.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:01 PM
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On closer inspections those sentences are offered up as examples whose grammaticality is in question.

But the post has more discussion.

This construction isn't in my idiolect.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:01 PM
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72: prescriptivism, prescriptivism, nix nix. Not grammatical in YOUR idiolect, maybe, but who died and made you Governor of Idaho?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:03 PM
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Ok, I'm reading Murray, Frazer & Simon, "Need + Past Participle in American English".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:03 PM
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"He went and [did such and such thing]" is a commonly used formulation in the bible. Not sure where that gets us.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:03 PM
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I'm reading the wikipedia article about hortative moods. Did you know there is an INFRAhortative mood? There totally is.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:05 PM
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"X needs washed by Y" sounds slightly off to me, but I don't know if I would call it ungrammatical.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:06 PM
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I've run into "This kitchen needs must cleaned" from a North Carolinian. I love the construction, but it might not be an idiolect so much as the fact that my friend is crazy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:06 PM
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Yeah, as Ben says, Google says it's a participle. So, again, is it just a matter of something else dropping out? Namely "to be"? Forms of "to be" are "understood" (as in, not there) in lots of languages.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:06 PM
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"Cryptic ned needs taught a lesson about prescriptivism" is ungrammatical. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on the rules for this construction. I think maybe only verbs that take no object work in this way.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:07 PM
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s/reading/skimming/. Seems nondispositive so far, though there is a quotation from a post to ADS-l saying that "native users [of need + V-en] … often report that they [have] never heard any alternate form before going away to college or moving away" (ellipses and brackets as in article), suggesting (to me) that if it can't accept an agent the speech of these people must be kind of impoverished.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:07 PM
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Sorry, I forgot there are no rules or logic.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:08 PM
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Okay, this thread seems to have gotten mighty confused, so I should probably say more. I don't know enough about the relevant research to address neb's concern, but I do understand what he's saying here. The question is about syntax and doesn't have anything in particular to do with lexical semantics, except that some of the syntactic forms in question seem to be limited to (or at least strongly associated with) specific lexical items.

Basically, there are a bunch of English verbs that can be used in ways that make them look almost like auxiliary verbs, but not quite, and at the same time they retain their original content meaning. "Go" is one; "try" is another. Diachronically, what's probably going on here is that the verbs in question are in the process of becoming auxiliary verbs, but haven't gotten very far. In other cases the syntax might be influenced by other languages. I think I've heard arguments that some of the "go" forms are due to Yiddish or (more likely) German influence. Chomskyan linguists, though, are mostly concerned with synchronic analysis, and so they've devoted a lot of time and effort to figuring out exactly how these forms work syntactically in the language as it is spoken now. Like I said before, though, I'm not very familiar with that work.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:08 PM
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76: Ben wanted there to be parallel structures between the command (go fuck yourself) and the declarative after the fact (*he went fucked himself). You could say he went and fucked himself or he went to fuck himself.

what about other ways to embed it?

I told him to go fuck himself, so he went to fuck himself ...


does that seem like a sentence you could say? I feel unhappy with it but am not sure why


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:09 PM
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I was delighted when in actually existing life I heard someone who doesn't cook say that she only bought vegetables that don't need cooked.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:09 PM
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"Need" + past participle sounds like a Midland feature, from the places mentioned so far.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:11 PM
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I always understood the "needs washed" construction as just a dropping of "to be", and neb's link in 73 doesn't really convince me otherwise. The difficult thing is teasing out the rules for when "to be" can be dropped and when it can't.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:11 PM
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84: it's not confusion, it's purposefully driven tangents by neb in order to win the conversation.

I stick with my claim that "washed" in "needs washed" is not a verb, and so "the window needs washed" is not an example of multiple tensed verbs strung together, and so this explanation of why the sentences in the second part of the post don't work.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:13 PM
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I should have mentioned in 84 that it's possible the diachronic change goes in the other direction, which would make the current forms relics. That would probably be apparent from historical documents, however, and I'm not aware that it is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:13 PM
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"Need" + past participle sounds like a Midland feature, from the places mentioned so far.

Yeah, that's what the article suggests as well. Apparently it's a normal construction in Scots.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:13 PM
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it's purposefully driven tangents by neb in order to win the conversation.

So rude. SO rude.

My attention is magpie-like, that's all. If needs + part participle is a tangent (reasonable supposition!), I'm not pursuing it to "win" the conversation. Sheesh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:14 PM
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it's not confusion, it's purposefully driven tangents by neb in order to win the conversation.

No, he's been fine. I was referring to some of the people upthread who really didn't seem to understand what he was talking about.

I stick with my claim that "washed" in "needs washed" is not a verb, and so "the window needs washed" is not an example of multiple tensed verbs strung together, and so this explanation of why the sentences in the second part of the post don't work.

Yes, it's a past participle, which is derived from a verb but generally functions as a noun.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:15 PM
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"He needs to get it the fuck done" sounds just fine. But how would I use "the fuck" to intensify a needs washed sentence?

Also, Git-R-Done just sounds real country to me. Aint nobody where I grew up would talk that way.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:15 PM
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88- if the to be is elided and that's all, then you should be able to add agents and other clauses to the end of the sentence. It'd be fine to say "the window needs to be washed by a professional", but (the impression I'm getting is) this doesn't work with this construction.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:16 PM
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"X needs pastparticpled" would be a perfectly normal locution in my idiolect, fwiw.

"The floor needs washed"
"The potatoes need peeled", etc.

On the other hand, constructions like "the floor needs washing" sound like Anglicisms to me. It'd always be "to be washed" or just "washed" for me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:16 PM
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So rude. SO rude.

so, we'll just call it even, then?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:16 PM
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83: Grumpy? Sounds like someone needs conjoined.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:17 PM
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"He needs to get it the fuck done" sounds just fine. But how would I use "the fuck" to intensify a needs washed sentence?

Compare apples to apples. Would you say "the dishes need to be the fuck cleaned"? I wouldn't.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:17 PM
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99: I'd say "go do the fucking dishes, please" to someone else.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:19 PM
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42: Obi-Wan Kenobi Rap Replinger . . . Now that's a name I've not heard in a long, long time.

Seriously, like, thirty years. Wow.


Posted by: Winston Smith Churchill | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:19 PM
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95: The internet provides examples of people saying things like that, for example, someone talking about her dog: "We have introduced her to tons of strangers and she always wants held by them." But for all I know they're typos!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:20 PM
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Sounds like someone needs conjoined.

Who doesn't?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:20 PM
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and how!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:21 PM
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Murray, Simon and Frazer seem to think that these constructions (need/want/etc. + pp) haven't received much "formal linguistic attention".

Your teeth probably need cleaned by the dentist.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:22 PM
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No, "to be the fuck cleaned" sounds wrong, but "to be washed the the fuck up" sounds OK, if a bit recherche. "put the fuck away" sounds completely natural. Maybe "needs cleaned the fuck up" would be OK.

Knowing that this is legit (an adjective that it seems kids are using pretty indiscriminately nowadays) in Scotland is probably the way to proceed. Unfortunately, nothing's going to take me to Scotland anytime soon.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:23 PM
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102: That's grammatical, I think. But as I said above, "ned needs taught a lesson" isn't. So adverbial phrases like "by them" seem OK but objects don't.

ttaM, are there similar restrictions in your idiolect? I guess the geographic distribution makes Scots influence on Appalachian dialect look like the likely source for this in the US.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:23 PM
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I need taught a lesson n'at by yinz anymore.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:25 PM
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But how would I use "the fuck" to intensify a needs washed sentence?

That nasty-ass dish needs to be washed the fuck off.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:26 PM
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107: I find the following at a weird website warning against completing the Census: "NOT participating will have you marked as a dissenter or combatant, a troublemaker, that needs taught a lesson and re-educated."

Needs taught a lesson and re-educated!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:27 PM
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Murray, Simon and Frazer seem to think that these constructions (need/want/etc. + pp) haven't received much "formal linguistic attention".

The ones with pp probably haven't. Some similar types of constructions that are grammatical in Standard English certainly have.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:29 PM
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Needs taught a lesson and re-educated!

I should say so, because it clearly didn't take the first time.


Posted by: Winston Smith Churchill | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:30 PM
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Japanese has a similar construction, but it's more like "did and" rather than "went and". Like "went and", it's not exactly necessary, but once learned it finds its way into your speech often.

||
Also, I have introduced my daughters to the work of Daniil Kharms, much to their delight.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:31 PM
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110 is interesting. Maybe I was too quick to judge it as ungrammatical. It doesn't sound like something I'd ever say. I'll try to listen for it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:31 PM
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Surely ttaM and I aren't the only native "needs Xed" speakers here.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:34 PM
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Cala may have been, but aside from an unexpected reäppearance the other day she's flown the coop.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:37 PM
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115: I find myself using it, but it's not in my native idiolect. I think I picked it up along with positive 'anymore' from a friend from Montana long ago.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:39 PM
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Cala reäppeared?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:39 PM
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I thought so, but I guess I was wrong.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:44 PM
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There is an ad I often see that makes me grit my teeth, although I can't explain what the grammatical violation is.

"____ & ______: Aggressive Lawyers That Get Results," is the tag line. I always want to change it to "who" but for all I know I'm actually wrong.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:48 PM
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On the other hand, constructions like "the floor needs washing" sound like Anglicisms to me. It'd always be "to be washed" or just "washed" for me.

Because it's "the floor wants washing".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:51 PM
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113: This is nice:

The poet often professed his extreme abhorrence of children and pets, as well as old people; his career as a children's writer notwithstanding.

(From wikipedia, so it may or may not be true; it certainly has some grammatical-type issues.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:53 PM
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Witt's punctiliousness is evident in the different number of underscores she used for the aggressive lawyers' names in 120.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:53 PM
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Wasn't he forced to write for children as a by the oppressive soviet regime?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:54 PM
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Punctility, or Punctilosity?


Posted by: OPINIONATED SERGEANT SNORKEL | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:55 PM
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Pünktlichkeit.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:56 PM
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(which means something completely different)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:58 PM
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123: Holy Toledo, neb, you're right. It was totally unconscious, I swear.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 2:59 PM
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He was forced to write for children as a Pünktlichkeit?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:05 PM
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I kinda like: " Aggressive Lawyers What Get Results."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:06 PM
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124: Yes. Mayakovsky too, I think; I'll look into it further if someone with JSTOR access would be so kind as to send me this article.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:07 PM
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Check your email.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:09 PM
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I always want to change it to "who" but for all I know I'm actually wrong.

"Who" is distinguished from "what" by referring only to animate nouns, which is a grammatical category that otherwise doesn't really exist in English. Since it does exist in this particular context, though, it sounds more natural, even though "that" is equally grammatical in a narrow sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:10 PM
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It should be "Aggressive Lawyers, That Get Results,".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:10 PM
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132: Thanks, you're a prince.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:11 PM
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Send me your reading response by tomorrow morning.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:11 PM
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OK, Megan's pretending to be a Brit and neb is trying to make my head explode. Thanks for taking me seriously, teo.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:12 PM
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113: You mean like shite iku? I learned that late - I'm much more comfortable with shite kuru, "come and [do] - but I had the impression that grammatical form had much more to do with time than with location, especially when it's in the nonpast tense, where "going forward" is a fairly accurate if awkward translation.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:14 PM
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I have a crush on Mayakovsky -- or rather on a particular pic of him with a shaved head, torn sweater, and black boots. A guy with the office next to a friend of mine had a poster of it, and I remarked "hubba hubba" and he said, "He was my uncle." (Possibly great uncle?)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:15 PM
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79: That construction shows up in, like, Dowland songs, doesn't it? Lending credence to the (somewhat discredited, I think?) linguistic folk wisdom about Elizabethan linguistic relics in certain parts of the south where geography has led to a degree of linguistic isolation. Well, anyway, until the age of television, or the age in which one might graduate high school without knowing about the civil rights movement.

In other news, this is the most exciting thread ever, where "ever"=my two weeks mostly lurking here.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:17 PM
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It certainly shows up in plenty of Childe ballads.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:20 PM
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138: No, I mean like (nantoka)te shite, which kind of conveys the "up and" meaning. The shite iku construction ga wasurete shichatta.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:21 PM
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84: certainly one can easily think of such idioms in Yiddish. Geh kaken in yam, geh weiss (familiar to many people with grandparents, either spoken aloud and sounding like "gay vice" or half-translated to "go know.") But another example--not the warmest of sentiments, again--springs easily to mind from Italian.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:21 PM
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"Aggresive Lawyers, That. Get Results!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:27 PM
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Surely, Mister Smearcase has been around more than two weeks. I recall making a mental note that Misters Smearcase and Blandings were two different commenters, and that must have been more than two weeks ago, right?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:30 PM
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142: Weird, I guess I never properly learned that formulation. Assuming you mean -te the verb suffix, not tte the slangy equivalent of to.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:33 PM
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Haven't read all the comments yet, but I'll still give my two cents. I think the problem is more that the sentences aren't exactly commands that enable compliance. If you take a similar example, but where compliance is possible: "go read a book or something!" It is perfectly possible to answer, by way of indicating compliance: "I did, I went and read a book, just like you told me to!"


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:34 PM
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I don't think the same thing is going on with "go" in all of these examples. "Go tell it on the mountain" is a straightforward request/command to change location, presumably not made from on the mountain. "Go fuck yourself" is a little more complicated. I'm not sure an actual suggestion of movement is happening there, and as a result, when you put it in declarative mode/past tense, "went and" sounds like another idiomatic/non-literal use. "He went and [verb]ed" has the colloquial usage, not connoting movement, rather like "up and", that's affective, I guess indicating surprise at what happened.

So in most cases, where "go" is not some kind of emphatic/pejorative particile, "go [imperative]" --> "he went and [declaratived]" really requires no asterisk of shame.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:36 PM
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145
You're probably right, maybe a month or more. Go figure. He went and figured.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:38 PM
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On the "go + ______" thing, Spanish has an interesting thing. In addition to using a similar-to-English contstruction of "Ir + a + [infinitive]", there's a less frequently used construction of "Ir + a + [gerund]", which is used to convey that an action took place over the course of some amount of time.

Hence, el árbol iba creciendo, poco a poco means soemthing like "the tree grew, little by little, over the years" with "over the years" being implied by the construction itself.

All of which seems tangential to the OP, but I've long wished to popularize a similar construction in English. For, wouldn't it be lovely to say "the tree went growing, little by little"? It would


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:40 PM
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146: Actually, now that I think about it, I'm misremembering. It's not -te shite, but -te shimau.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:43 PM
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Oh, Microsoft. Spell-check just suggested correcting "disclosable" (ugly, yes, but not all that bad by lawyer standards) to "disc losable".


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 3:51 PM
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Caught myself this morning saying "didn't used to be able to." I blame Texas.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:17 PM
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I say that. What would be preferable? "Didn't use to be able to"? Surely not.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:18 PM
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"disc losable"

Right. Like when you get a new computer and want to install the old printer but you can't find the software that came with it but that's okay because the printer manufacturer makes the drivers freely available via the support section of their website. That's a disc-losable printer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:21 PM
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Any non-standardness in "didn't used to" reminds me of that of double modals though I guess neither part is exactly a modal auxiliary. They're common in southern speech ("might could" and "might should") but this variant is really, really common, hardly a regionalism. I guess the totally standard version would just be "I wasn't able to" but it lacks some of the tensic* nuance.

*"tensic" doesn't seem to mean "relating to verb tense" but I think it should.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:32 PM
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Also aspectual nuance, no? Sticking with the positive, to me, "I used to be able to" differs from "I was able to" in that the former implies that I am not currently able to whereas the latter doesn't (necessarily, anyway), and I would use the latter to describe specific instances of ability whereas the former is more general, e.g. "I was able to see her (I looked through the window and there she was)" vs. "I used to be able to see her (whenever I wanted, by looking through the window)".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:37 PM
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So, "I didn't used to be able to see her (before I got this powerful telescope)", but "I wasn't able to see her (the blinds were shut)".

Of course you could use "I wasn't able to see her" for the former sense too, if you said something like "... in those days", I guess, but I don't think you could use "I didn't used to be able to see her" in the latter sense.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:40 PM
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Please, no adverse inferences from my voyeuristic example sentences.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:40 PM
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"I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too."
—Mitch Hedberg


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:47 PM
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"I got an ant farm … them fuckers didn't grow shit."
—Mitch Hedberg


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:48 PM
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Also, I say "might could".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:51 PM
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Kharms. Mayakovsky. Too threateningly handsome for Stalin to let them live.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 4:51 PM
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I didn't used to not comment.

These days I don't, 'cept when I do.


Posted by: Winston Smith Churchill | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:18 PM
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I thought I had a clever example of how one of the usages of "to go" at the top of the thread was analogous to some colloquial usages of the Russian verb "делать" [to do], but the point escapes me.

As long as we're thinking about the verb "to go" in spirituals, how about "go down Moses, way down in Egypt land" and "Paul and Silas, bound in jail, had no money for to go their bail". In the first example, "go down" seems like a pretty straightforward imperative to motion: "convey yourself deep into Egypt", with the sense that the length and severity of the journey is not merely measured in miles, but in Moses putting himself in jeopardy, while pursuing a seemingly unattainable end. In the other example "to go [someone's] bail" seems like a fairly arbitrary idiom for the act of paying out bail money, except that, presumably, some actual journey to the courthouse or jail or bail bondsman is contemplated.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:22 PM
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And of course, you can say "I went his bail", idiomatically.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:24 PM
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One can "go down on" someone. One can also "be down on" someone. I'd say it's pretty unlikely, however, that one would "go down" on someone he or she "was down on".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:29 PM
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I think I'd say "I gode his bail."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:35 PM
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151: Ah, of course.

There's a lot of fun to be had with Japanese auxiliary and compound verbs - especially the suffix -yagaru, vaguely like the adverbial "fucking," and -makuru, meaning "with reckless abandon."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:38 PM
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That's one of those classic Rodchenko portraits, iirc.


Posted by: nattarGcM traM | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:41 PM
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Of course Stalin was a handsome bastard himself : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Stalin_1902.jpg


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:44 PM
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157

"Aspectual" is much better. Several Slavic languages are disappointed in me right now.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:54 PM
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171: Damn. I could see Jason Schwartzman playing a young Stalin.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 5:54 PM
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115: Surely ttaM and I aren't the only native "needs Xed" speakers here.

I slip into it from time to time since I interact with many native speakers, but I did not grow up with it* despite being a mere 2 hours up the road.

A new word for me from the wiki article on "Pittsburgh English" (which suggests the Scots-Irish influence for "needs/wants/likes Xed), Perhaps the only feature whose distribution is restricted almost exclusively to the Pittsburgh metropolitan area is /aw/ monophthongization. What is the name for the linguistic process which creates a word like that?

*An ugly one I did grow up with is the "positive" use of anymore. "I still use 'anymore' incorrectly anymore."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 8:48 PM
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An ugly one I did grow up with is the "positive" use of anymore

I think this is also a Midland trait in origin, but it's much more widespread now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 8:53 PM
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173: Johnny Depp, all the way.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-13-10 9:10 PM
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What's ugly about positive "anymore"? I like it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 12:53 AM
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177: In my experience, not pleasing to the ears of East Coasters, in particular my wife and my mother-in-law (who was an NYC public schools English teacher).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 6:29 AM
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"I got an ant farm ... them fuckers didn't grow shit."

Clearly he got the wrong ants. Many species farm fungus.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 9:43 AM
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An interesting-looking abstract.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 4:39 PM
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Or rather an abstract for an interesting-looking paper.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 4:41 PM
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Huh. I think of positive "anymore" as a NYC thing, as that's where I seem to hear it most frequently. So I'm just, what, standing near large groups of midwesterners who happen to be in NYC for the day? I'm not sure I understand where it's common.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 4:48 PM
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I use the positive "anymore", but I have no idea where I picked it up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 4:48 PM
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No regional insight, but I tend to think of positive "anymore" as one of those plebian innovations like "the reason is, is because" that you might see anywhere.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 7:13 PM
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It's found pretty much everywhere, I think (I associate it mostly with some of my relatives on my dad's side who use it a lot). I don't know that there's been a whole lot of research on it, but there has been some. It's interesting to linguists because it has important implications for some syntactic theories. Like I said above, I think it's a Midland feature originally, but I wouldn't swear to that. I definitely don't associate it with the Northeast; I don't recall ever hearing it around here, but I've heard it a lot in the West.

By the way, "Midland" ≠ "Midwest"; there's some overlap, but the dialect areas of American English don't really correspond to the commonly understood regions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 7:20 PM
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Wikipedia has a pretty good discussion of American dialects that backs me up on the Midland origin of positive anymore.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 7:23 PM
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The Midland article is good too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 7:28 PM
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By the way, "Midland" ≠ "Midwest"; there's some overlap, but the dialect areas of American English don't really correspond to the commonly understood regions.

Thanks for the clarification. I kind of hesitated when I typed that and just went with it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 8:37 PM
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Because you don't see regions.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-10 10:40 PM
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??? I associate positive anymore (I assume this means something like "the traffic is crazy in savannah anymore") with my exceedingly country-fried step-mom, who is from metter, GA.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 04-15-10 12:50 AM
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I don't think I've ever heard anyone use the positive anymore in the way you guys are describing. And that's after living in a few different regions of the country. I'm still not grasping how exactly its supposed to be used.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-15-10 1:15 AM
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Positive "anymore" means "nowadays" or "lately", basically. Alameida's example is strictly correct.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-15-10 1:27 AM
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True fact, I was talking about positive "anymore" on a date tonight and seem not to have scared of the datee.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-15-10 1:27 AM
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seem not to have scared of the datee.

Neb is a little lax anymore.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-15-10 7:07 AM
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Only skimmed the thread, so this might have been said before, but my theory is that its a pragmatic thing. When you utter a bare imperative "φ" you might distinguish two things that can happen. One (call it "satisfaction of the imperative") where the commandee for whatever reason φs and a further level (call it "compliance with the imperative") where the commandee φs because of a consciousness that they've been commanded.

Now, if you wanted to insult someone by implying that they are your bitch, you might want to communicate that you're telling them not just to φ but to φ because you are telling them. You do this by saying "Go φ". Whereas "Go φ" might originally have been derived from "Go and φ" ("Go, and sin no more"), where what you're communicating is that the commandee should satisfy the imperative "Go and φ", within the syncopated form "Go φ" the "Go" now functions to communicate that you are being directed to comply with the imperative "φ". But what "He went and φed" reports is that the commandee satisfied "Go and φ" and not that he complied with "φ". Hence the feeling that "He went and φed" is somehow inadequate.

Anyone disagrees with me, they can go fuck themselves.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 04-16-10 5:22 AM
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What makes Neb the dater and his interlocutor the datee?


Posted by: Crypbtich ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 2:07 PM
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I was the speaker.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 2:12 PM
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Each is the datee to the other and the dater to him or herself.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 2:12 PM
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Couldn't both be co-daters?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 2:17 PM
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Or Kobe-daters?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 2:17 PM
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Couldn't both be co-daters?

Co-dating in the relevant sense is precisely the situation taht obtains when each dater is a datee to the other.

(An irrelevant sense obtains between the members of the two pairs of people not on a date with each other on a double date.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 2:28 PM
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Isn't this the ideal opportunity to say "the datrix"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 9:57 PM
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Sexist.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-17-10 9:57 PM
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