LINGUIST List 4.849

Mon 18 Oct 1993

Disc: Null-Object

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Ellen F. Prince", Re: 4.834 Null-Object
  2. Bill Bennett, Re:4.806 Null-object?
  3. Candace McKenna, Re: 4.828 Can/Can't, Come With
  4. , Re: 4.828 Come with

Message 1: Re: 4.834 Null-Object

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1993 11:03:06 Re: 4.834 Null-Object
From: "Ellen F. Prince" <>
Subject: Re: 4.834 Null-Object

>From: "Reinhard (Ron) F. Hahn" <>
>Subject: Re: "Go with," Non-American versus American English morphology
>How is it in Yiddish? Do you say something like "Ken ikh
>mitkumen/mitgeyn?" or "Ken ikh kumen/geyn mit?"?

yiddish: fine: ken ikh mitkumen/mitgeyn?
 out: *ken ikh kumen/geyn mit?

 fine: ikh kum/gey mit.

yiddish has widespread and productive object-drop (given the right discourse
context, of course), which has, i suspect, inspired the non-productive and
highly constrained english (via yinglish) imperative 'enjoy!', apparently
limited to situations where food has been offered the hearer.

ellen prince
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Message 2: Re:4.806 Null-object?

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 16:03:57 BSRe:4.806 Null-object?
From: Bill Bennett <>
Subject: Re:4.806 Null-object?

Re: 4.816 Null object
Keith Miller's posting on this subject reminded me of my attempts to halt my
posting with its typo -cocher- for -coucher. I regret that my panic in trying
to halt this misdemeanour must have led to the disappearance of my posting
bringing to the LINGUIST's attention the following:
 er kommt mit mit uns
There is no typo here! If note had been taken of the role of the first -mit- in
such structures, this topic would not have been continuing in its claim to
be dealing with "null object". It would have been seen by now that
"er kommt mit" is not necessarily "er kommt mit [e]" but may well be the
separably prefixed verb -|mitkommen-, like -|unterbringen-, etc.
 In this, German differs from French. E.g. "rester avec" would fit a
discussion of empty (prepositional) object, but could it be discussed as a
verbal object "je l'ai couch/e avec", where -trace- alone is in final position?
This is a bizarre form of verb in present-day French. Is French the only
Romance language to have separable verbs? And does this again shown its
affinity for Germanic structures?
 I think the discussion will get nowhere if we are not looking out for verbal
forms as well as empty categories!
Bill Bennett
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Message 3: Re: 4.828 Can/Can't, Come With

Date: Fri, 15 Oct 93 16:13:02 PDRe: 4.828 Can/Can't, Come With
From: Candace McKenna <>
Subject: Re: 4.828 Can/Can't, Come With

I am from California originally, and my own dialect does not permit
"...come with." However, I have lived in the Seattle area for 17
years, and I began to notice this expression about eight years ago. I
think the Swedish connection, noted by Ron S from Minnesota, may be
worth investigating. The first two people I heard use "come with" are
of Danish descent (2nd and 3rd generation). They are not native
speakers of Danish, but they live near Ballard, an area of Seattle in
which there is a large concentration of people of Swedish, Norwegian
and Danish descent. When I first heard "come with" I guessed it was
an innovation by teenagers. I guessed that the adults that used it had
picked it up from the teens. The fact that this construction has been
around for decades in Chicago probably means that I guessed wrong.
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Message 4: Re: 4.828 Come with

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 93 16:45:57 EDRe: 4.828 Come with
From: <rjpensalMIT.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.828 Come with

Regarding the origin of the encroaching objectless 'come with' construction.
Atfirst suggestions that it came from German seemed plentiful and sensible
enough, but recently there has beena spate of suggestions that it may come from
French, Swedish, or even be 'a midwest thing'.
Firstly, it is certainly not just a regional American variant, nor in fact an
exclusively American variant. It is extremely common in the English of both
Afrikaaner and Anglo South Africans, which would seem to support the Germanic
(specifically the Dutch) hypothesis.
Secondly, although it has been years since I was in France, I do not recall
ever encountering 'venir avec' with no object (but I happily admit that I may
just not have noticed it). I know for certain that 'venire con' with no object
is NOT allowed in Italian, however.
Like another respondent, I too have noticed that [th] in 'come with' appears
to be realised as theta (voiceless) whilst [th] in 'come with X' is realised
As the voiced edh. I will endevour to spend more time with my South African
friends in order to establish the general truth of this in their dialect.
Finally, whilst the objectless 'come with' is not a part of my dialect (fairly
standard Australian English), I do find the construction strangely compelling,
and would not be at all surprised if I started using it over the next few
months. Perhaps it is just a construction whose time has come???

 Rob Pensalfini
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