Date: Sun, 13 Oct 1996 07:56:53 -0400

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: Stoled

Time makes it mpossible to reply to lengthy comments from members of the

list who haven't had Ling 101, but I will continue to be surly with the

linguistically prejudiced, whether it stems from ill-will or ignorance.


At 05:27 PM 10/12/96 -0400, you wrote:

Well, shucks, Jason, see us Mid-southerners and Midwesterners, we jist

don't understand East Coast logic. See, we got us a whole passel of them

redundants that I guess y'all don't have. Why, we even say 'felt' for the

preterite of 'feel' (which has already got a vowel-stem change so shouldn't

need no dental preterite marker). Reckon we're so slow out here though that

we'll hang on to them redundancies (particularly since it seems to be a

predictable and necessary feature of natural language). By the way, us

Hungarians (farther East than y'all) find phrases like 'two houses' or

'three chickens' pretty silly too. Redundant as all hell. Why put a plural

marker on a noun with a number sittin' out thar in front of it?

I didn't say that redundants were _wrong,_ just that they sounded

odd to me. As I'm sure you know, most Britons would judge a person who

spoke with a Cockney accent to be less educated than one who spoke with a

BBC accent. As I explained before, I wasn't passing a judgement of this sort

at all. I also wanted to explain my perspective, which is that of one who

grew up speaking with a generic "news anchor" accent. I would never

postulate that language always adheres to the simplest rules.

If you want to talk about other languages, Attic Greek uses what

might be called "cumulative negatives," (i.e. more negatives increases the

emphasis placed on something _not_ being something else) which would be

called double negatives or worse in English. But to be honest, I don't see

what other languages have to do with what's considered correct in American

(or generic Ameican) English. If every language followed English rules, they

would all be the same language with different vocabularies, no?

BTW, I was born in Kentucky and lived for several years in southern

Illinois. I may not speak that way, but I do have some idea of what I'm

talking about.

Respectfully hoping not to sound like I think anyone's stupid just because I

don't talk the same way they do,



Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736