Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: adjectives and adverbs

From:Thomas Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 7, 2005, 20:10
Chris wrote:
> Charlie wrote: > > I delight in American regionalisms. I was in Wal-mart the other day > > and I overheard one woman say to another, "Are you goin' to the > > pharmacy? That's where I'm a-goin'." I wonder if there's any rule > > for when this "a-" can be used. > > This was the original form. English got the progressive am tense > by saying "I am at ----ing", later shortened to "I am" then the > a was dropped completely in standard English. In some dialects I know > it's used more often with the most common verbs like go than with > uncommon verbs I think, and some seem to retain it for all verbs.
It's true that it was the original form, based on a preposition plus gerund, but the preposition in question was not _aet_ but _on_. The /n/ was deleted in the same way as it was in many other constructions, like _afraid_ and _against_ and e.g. _once a day_ (< _on daege_). ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637