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Subject: 'I'm done + noun' vs. 'I'm done with noun'
Question: Hi, Just received this e-mail from one of my teacher interns. Can you help? Abby wrote: I noticed MW over at B School asking kids ''Are you done your [homework/sort activity/fill in the blank with a noun]?'' when what I've always heard before was ''Are you done with [noun]?'' OR just ''Are you done?'' Then I've also heard her say, ''I'm done my [noun -- ELL class, most recently].'' So I thought it was just a MW thing but then I've heard other teachers using ''done'' this way too (transitively? intransitively? I forget). So then I thought it was a Manchester thing. But now I just noticed a friend from Durham using it on facebook. She's another intern. Is it a UNH thing, I wonder? Do you know anything about this? Have you noticed it, do you use this structure, do you have any idea where it came from or where it's common now? Thanks!
Reply: Hi, Judy, I have heard of similar structures in English dialects, though I have no explicit knowledge of their use or distribution. However, it strikes me that this is a phenomenon related to the existence in many languages of a syntactic alternation between 'have' and 'be' as verbal auxiliaries (including varieties of English). I don't have any specific thoughts in this case, but other Panelists who may have delved more deeply into this kind of question might. Jim James L. Fidelholtz Graduate Program in Language Sciences Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades Benem'erita Universidad Aut'onoma de Puebla, M'EXICO
Reply From: James L Fidelholtz      click here to access email
Date: 15-May-2013

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