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
bboling[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]unm.edu