Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 17:40:35 -0500
From: "Peter L. Patrick" PPATRICK[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]GUVAX.BITNET
Subject: Re: "and them"
The Texan "mamanem" does seem to be quite similar to the creole one.
It may be more restricted, though. How productive is it? or is it
generally found in "mamanem"?
The Jamaican Creole one has been noticed because it's a
mediating construction which coexists with another not generally
possible in English dialects (as far as I know-- would be interested
to hear exceptions). You can productively say both "[Name] an dem" and
"[Name]-dem", where in English you don't seem to get "Mary-them came
over" without a conjunction. (Bill Stewart, I think, called this an
'associative plural' years ago.) This is of course parallel to the
usual pluralization strategy for non-personal nouns: "di man-dem". In
Caribbean creole substrate W. African languages you also get plurals
derived from 3rd-person-pl. pronouns affixed to both common and proper
nouns, eg Yoruba: "awon-Taiwo", meaning "Taiwo and his (family,
friends, etc.)", as John Holm and others have noted in making the
substrate case for Atlantic creoles. The JC case with conjunction is
then a typical instance of having a construction which matches the
superstrate on the surface, but preserves substrate-grammar ties too.
Which makes it interesting if "-nem" is productive in AAVE,
because it too could be just phonologically derived from "and them"
after a preceding vowel, as Don Lance noted-- but on the other hand it
looks a lot like the -dem suffix! My guess would be that it's not
productive, even lexicalized, as a creole/decreolized remnant, but I
don't know the facts and would be happy to hear more.
(See John Holm's discussion in his 'Pidgins & Creoles, Vol. I', and
for JC a (morpho-)syntactic sketch I've written for an upcoming book
"Comparative Creole Syntax", ed. by Holm, and a couple papers I gave
at NWAV '93 and SCL '94 on number-marking in JC, not out yet.)