Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 00:42:24 -0600
From: Samuel Jones smjones1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Subject: Re: The Germanic Separable Prefix "mit
The "dangling" or separable prefix WITH is primarily a product of Germanic
construction; however, the German "mit" [as well as the Norwegian, Swedish,
Danish equivalents] is also found in countless verbs, such as mitmachen
(= to go along with, follow suit), mitlaufen (= to run with, participate),
mitarbeiten (= to work with, collaborate), mithelfen (= to help with,
assist), mitgehen (= to go along with, accompany), and so forth. In our
home, German is spoken on a daily basis. It was for my children their 1st
language and, early on, as they gradually added English vocabularly and
construction to their language skills, the "come with" appeared quite
You are right about the German, but the "want to come with" can also be a
literal translation from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish as
well. That is why it is so common in Minnesota.
On Mon, 7 Oct 1996, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
You're right about the Germanness of the 'come with'; my Milwaukee wife has
Any number of things you seem to be able to rather freely delete in
'transitive' object position, I can't. Smells like age to me (since it
can't hardly be prescriptivism on my part). I hope to get a student to play
with this. Since the minimalists tell us all the grammar is in the lexicon,
it ought to be easy to show generationally.
Now I find myself flipping through the entire lexicon trying to figure out
what I can and can't say... take off, take down, put off, put down, get
pipe down... You ask about:
the parent would be expected to drop off and go back home
When I think about it, I would normally say "Drop them off" but I guess
intransitive "drop off," though not the usual construction, is comparable to
When shall I pick them up?
What time is pick up?
When shall I pick up?
None of which get the asterisk for me.
However, in a different construction, I've got a friend from California who
makes me shudder every time she says:
Do your kids want to come with?
Where I would say,
Do they want to come with us?
Maybe German influence from mitkommen- Kommen die Kinder mit?
Also consider...To everything there is a season...A time to drop off and a
time to pick up.
Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu
DR. SAMUEL M. JONES INTERNET: smjones1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]facstaff.wisc.edu
Prof. of Music & Latin American Studies TELNET: samjones[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]macc.wisc.edu
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