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

Standard English."

I am trying to get bothe my double modal paper and my a-prefixing paper

finished and to journals RIGHT NOW.