Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 11:53:15 -0700

From: bruce dwight bolinging bboling[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UNM.EDU

Subject: Thursday next, etc.

The phrase "Thursday week" is part of a larger pattern of

expressions used to designate a fixed time (see OED,s. v. "week", 5b); e.g.

Thursday next, Thursday week, this day month, etc. The second term in

such expressions can be either prospective or retrospective: Thursday

next (prospective), Thursday last (retrospective), this day month

(either), April was a year (retrospective; dialectal only), Thursday week


This pattern is well attested in the English of England and of the

Republic of Ireland, as well as in the Mid-Ulster dialect. It is absent

from Scots, but is abundantly attested in Ulster Scots, which in this

case has undergone the influence of the Mid-Ulster dialect. The presence

of the pattern in the Mid-Ulster and Ulster Scots dialects is of course

significant for explaining its appearance in the speech of the American


Below are a few examples of the pattern from my corpus of Mid-Ulster

speech of the 18th and 19th centuries.

(1) his doughter Sally is dead and that day weacke hir sister

Doughter died (prospective)

(2) I recived your letter this day munth (retrospective)

(3) Mother died in June last was a year (retrospective)

(4) untill May was a year when I took ill (retrospective)

I would be interested to know whether such retrospective

constructions as "Thursday last" or "Thursday week" (meaning "a week ago

Thursday") coexist in the speech of those Southern American speakers who

have "Thursday week" in its prospective sense.

Bruce D. Boling

University of New Mexico