1. Shall, and 2. more better (was: Word usage in English dialects etc)
|From:||Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, February 5, 2005, 18:39|
1. Paul Bennett wrote:
> Maybe I'm an oddball (it has been suggested in the past)...,
We hadn't noticed :-)))))))))))
..but I'm British,
> and I use "shall" all the time (in any register above Low), along with a
> bunch of other prescriptivist claptrap.
It's always been my impression-- compared to US speech-- that the shall/will
distinction was much more alive and well in British speech than ours.
Likewise should/would, which IIRC is supposed to parallel shall/will. (Hmm,
in fact, the perception of British-ism may be why it's all but dead in this
I can recall, from grade-school days back in the 40s, that when our teachers
tried to drum "I shall..., you will..." into our little heads-- we didn't
believe a word of it, and probably felt that even the teachers didn't
believe it either. Even then it was rarely encountered in Real Life.
Yet "shall" persists in questions, as many have pointed out. Furthermore, at
least for me, there are distinctions--
"What shall I do today?" (I'm at loose ends...)
"What will I do today?" (What's the schedule?)
"What should I do today?" (Clean the cat-box..., but working on Kash would
be more fun)
2. Tristan wrote:
>>The standard grammar says it's ungrammatical (most adjectives eithertake -er/-est or more/most; some can take either, like 'common'). It
is, however, the fashion amongst younger people to conflate the two
endings, so that you get any of:
sweeter ~ more sweet ~ more sweeter
as far as I can tell, they're all equivalent in this use. Presumably
this is just another stage in English's conversion from postposed
modifiers to preposed ones.>>
I can't speak for the younger generation, who I suspect have picked this up
from rap music and associated cultural phenomena; when we older folks
(nowadays*) use "more ...er" or "mo'...er" it's almost always in humorous**
imitation of Black street slang-- so one wants to be a little careful when
and where one uses it.
And BTW, I can think of at least one usage in the superlative: "most
Are there any features of Native Australians' use of English that you-all
imitate ~ make fun of in similar ways?
*In the past (maybe pre-60s), if you heard it at all from a White, it would
have been classed as a "performance error"-- you started to say "...more
ADJ...", then realized the ADJ had a proper -er form, so both words slipped
**but underlyingly a bit malicious too, sorry to say; "isn't this cute-- but
WE know it's substandard". It was only from the 60s on that most of us
Northerners had real social contact with Blacks of all sorts and conditions.
At least, that's when I picked it up.