LINGUIST List 5.232

Sat 26 Feb 1994

Disc: Double modals

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  1. Marianna Di Paolo, Re: 5.196 Double Modals
  2. , RE: 5.131 Qs: Textual Materials, Double Modal, Instituto de Verano

Message 1: Re: 5.196 Double Modals

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 94 17:25:35 MSRe: 5.196 Double Modals
From: Marianna Di Paolo <dipaoloanthro.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: 5.196 Double Modals

>I've encountered double modals in rural Arizona, presumbably the
>result of southern migration. "Might could" and "may would" are
>acceptable; but *might would and *may could.
>Bill King Univ. of Arizona wkingccit.arizona.edu

I also have numerous citations of double modals I have collected in
Utah, but the set of possible items is more extensive than what Bill
King has found in Arizona. I have long thought that a thorough study
of Mormon migration history might lead to evidence for a Southern
American connection and explain how double modals got here as well as
the near mergers of tense/lax vowels before /l/ found in Utah.

Marianna Di Paolo
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Message 2: RE: 5.131 Qs: Textual Materials, Double Modal, Instituto de Verano

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 94 10:11 GMT
From: <HILTONMWESTMINSTER.AC.UK>
Subject: RE: 5.131 Qs: Textual Materials, Double Modal, Instituto de Verano

In vol 5-131, Joyce Neu asks raises the question of double modals in English.
I can't offer any analytical suggestions on it, but the message comes timely
upon its cue, so to speak, in that on Monday I was working with a class. While
talking about grammaticality and acceptability judgements, I tried them out on
a form that my grandmother used to use:

 You won't can do it.

So I pass it on. My father tried to find out from her what she would say in
unreals:

 You wouldn't can do it.

or

 You wouldn't could do it.

but if he succeeded, I never got to know the answer.

Biographical Note:
My grandmother came from Carlisle in (then) Cumberland in the English Lake
District. She started life as some kind of a maid in a large house - a
'tweeny' I think - but then married my grandfather, a coal-miner. She was
basically uneducated, but taught herself to read and write. Although I only
remember her using the local 'English', she must have been able to speak true
Cumbrian dialect, because I remember my father saying that my grandmother's own
mother couldn't speak 'English' but could understand it. He learnt to
understand her Cumbrian, though he couldn't speak it. So he spoke his RP
standard English to her and she spoke to him in Cumbrian.

Are there any linguists out there who know Cumbrian?

Mark Hilton
School of Languages
University of Westminster
9 -18 Euston Centre
London NW1 3ET

hiltonmuk.ac.westminster
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