Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 10:32:41 -0800


Subject: *fixin' to* and *like to* -- Dialectal Aspects

Hm. Ever had a discussion on this topic? Last night on

Hard Copy a guy being swarmed by killer bees in Texas

said over his cellular phone, "I'm fixin' to pass out," which

shows [fIksInt[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]] ([AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]=schwa) being used in the

non-intentional sense. Note the similarity to what seems

to me a weaker dialectal aspect, like to -- except [laIkt[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]]

is only used for reporting past events, with the main

verb in past tense, "I [laIkt[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]] passed out."

Since English is not structurally a three-tense language

but a two-tense with aspects, a point not generally well

taught in English classes, aspects usually get short

shrift in describing English.

Questions: (1) Does anyone else have examples of

dialectal aspects? (2) Does anyone else know how this

description of English figured in Chomsky's only known

(to me) direct attack on Benjamin Whorf to prove him

wrong once and for all? (3) Does anyone care?

-- Moonhawk (%- )

"The fool on the hill sees the sun going down and

the eyes in his head see the world spinning round"

-- McCartney/Lennon