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Southernisms (was Re: Genitive relationships (WAS: Construct States))

From:Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 10, 1999, 7:58
"Raymond A. Brown" wrote:

> I've always understood that the modern 'I was going...' derived from the > older and now largely obsolete 'I was a-going...' (I believe such forms > still survive in some parts of the US - tho maybe that is another Brit. > myth :)
Nope. It's true, but it's extant now only in the most rural and isolated regions of the country, like Apalachia. I know that it used to be very common in the South, but with the advent of better communication and education, and the development of a quasiofficial Standard dialect, it has disappeared almost everywhere. To probably about the same extent that nonrhoticness has in the region (which, too, used to be universal). Some other interesting Southern idiosyncracies: Phonology: (1) [E] / [nasal] --> [I]; [&] / [nasal] --> [E] (I believe this is also common in many Western varieties of American English, too) (2) final consonant cluster reduction: [lEft] --> [lEf] (3) [ai] --> [a:] (4) [l] / _p# or _f# --> [p] or [f]: [hElp] --> [hEp] (5) [l] / _k --> palatal lateral approximant (6) loss of [n], and nasalization on preceding vowel (7) [lr] --> [rr]: "a'right" (except in careful speech) I've personally noticed only items 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7. I personally only have 1, 5, and 7, and, if I'm tired, 3. Morphology/lexical items: (8) [In] for -ing: nearly universal, as I suspect in many areas of the country (if not the world) (9) _y'all_, of course, which can imply (for me at least) paucality, where some phrasal unit like _[Al@yAl]_ serves for more than that. The genitive is generally _y'all's_, as y'all've seen from my posts, but I've actually heard _y'all'ses_ <dreadful shudder>. I know this last exists in Britain too, but is very much stigmatized. I know, I know, it's all offtopic. Oh well. Start a new one I guess. ======================================================= Tom Wier <artabanos@...> ICQ#: 4315704 AIM: Deuterotom Website: <> "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." There's nothing particularly wrong with the proletariat. It's the hamburgers of the proletariat that I have a problem with. - Alfred Wallace ========================================================