Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 08:52:17 -0700
From: Dan Moonhawk Alford dalford[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]S1.CSUHAYWARD.EDU
Subject: Re: Double/Multiple Modals
A great discussion! Kudos to all. I remember talking to James Sledd in
the summer of 1971, where he taught summers at Montana State University,
Bozeman. I was fresh out of Chomskyan UCLA training, and couldn't figure
out this old coot, a dyed-in-the-wool structuralist who would have
nothing to do with this new-fangled transformational stuff. And guess
what?! He pointed to the existence of double modals as an Achilles heel
for TG -- which I guess today would extend to GB and others as well.
Little did I know then that I was a year away from flushing it all down
the toilet in the face of an American Indian language, Cheyenne, in which
a word can be a sentence -- LONG on morphology and short on syntax.
Whatever happened to morphosyntax anyway?
On Tue, 17 Oct 1995, Bethany Dumas, UTK wrote:
The constructions like "might could" are called double modals or multiple
modals. There are several good article or parts of articles, all of which are
cited in my not quite published article. There can also be three of them
if one allows in quasi-modals. Ex: might should oughta.
The best comment I have ever heard about them cam from Bill Labov in
an Institute talk one year. He discussed the form (and every grammar book I
have ever examined says categorially, "modals cannnot be combined in
English"), then exaplained their distribution in SOuthern English and
concluded, "Standard English may be considerd a subset of Southern
English. Southern English allows a wider range of variations then
I am trying to get bothe my double modal paper and my a-prefixing paper
finished and to journals RIGHT NOW.
dumasb[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]utk.edu