Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 22:55:28 -0400


Subject: Re: Stoled

I once had an educated Jamaican informant say "stoled" in an

interview. I remember it because it was one of only two consonant

cluster hypercorrections with past "-t" in several thousand that I

analyzed (the other was "camed"), so I felt pretty justified

concluding that hypercorrection was not rampant and that people who

used past "-t/-d" knew what they were doing.

This is of course an unusual direction of regularization. What

usually happens is that doubly-marked or semi-weak verbs such as

"tol-d", "lef-t" get regularized and bleed the category of semi-weak

verbs, which has been steadily shrinking in English, I believe. Thus

for "dreamt" you get "dreamed", for "leapt" "leaped", etc. Guy & Boyd

1990 in Language Variation & Change list 17 semi-weak verbs, to which

one could add at least "cleave/cleft". They also propose that as

people get older, right on into middle-age, they change their pattern,

only gradually reanalyzing the final -t as a past morpheme; if true,

then extending it by analogy is not impossible. The trouble is, most

of the verbs are so common that one could hardly get to middle age

without knowing the correct form (even if one didn't analyze it as an

affix). So I don't know-- why DID my speaker say "stoled"? [or Grant

Barrett, for that matter!]

--peter patrick