Date: Sun, 29 Jan 1995 15:31:02 -0500
From: "Peter L. Patrick" PPATRICK[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]GUVAX.BITNET
Subject: Re: Tidbits
Following up on William Smith's remarks about "and thing":
Besides Gullah, 'an ting' is widely found throughout the English-
speaking Caribbean (though not, as he pointed out, as a pluralizer).
It's often lumped together with 'an dem', while the latter is often
lumped in with post-nominal '-dem' (which in turn is often spoken of
in the same breath as PRE-nominal deictic 'dem'!), but in fact they
are all quite distinct in use and meaning.
'an ting' is the least-often mentioned and the broadest in
use, I think, so generalized that it may even be possible now for some
speakers to use it in the same way as associative 'an dem':
'mieri an dem' Mary and (her usual associates: family,
friends, whoever it may be)
'an ting' means something very general like "and so on, and other
related topics, and things of that sort". So I'd think that "nieces
and thing" would be "nieces and other types of relatives", where
"nieces an dem" would be "nieces and (other specific relatives,
spouses, etc. of the nieces)". The distinction is so subtle it could
be easily overwhelmed. Both of them assume hearer knowledge of a
Any chance your (WS's) speaker had a West Indian background?
Numerically, that might be more likely than a Gullah one, though
either would give you the usage. I assume it isn't common among US
African-Americans in general (unless they got it from creole speakers)--
is that true?!
PS. Btw, Valerie Youssef has an article examining use of 'an ting' by
Trinidadians in medical interviews, but I can't find the ref. just now.