LINGUIST List 6.500

Tue 04 Apr 1995

Disc: Whatever happened to HAD /'D?

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  1. , Re: 6.473 Whatever happened to HAD /'D?

Message 1: Re: 6.473 Whatever happened to HAD /'D?

Date: Fri, 31 Mar 1995 19:09:34 Re: 6.473 Whatever happened to HAD /'D?
From: <>
Subject: Re: 6.473 Whatever happened to HAD /'D?

Please permit me a brief addendum to the had/'d
discussion. First of all, where I grew up (Cam-
bridge, MA, 50s & 60s) folks regularly (exclusively?)
said "X better V", with no form of "had/'d" audible,
as far as I can tell. I assume that's the reason why
it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that
there must have been an auxliary there at one time
(and apparently still is for many speakers). It
did strike me as a bit strange that the negative was
"You better not do that", which seemed at odds with
what otherwise seemed to hold for negation (this
was before I turned linguist!). The point was
really drilled home when I several times heard
non-native speakers (Germans) come up with what
was for me totally impossible, namely "You better
don't do that"! It was around then that I figured
there was more to it than met the eye/ear ...

The long & short of it is that at least for some
speakers (like me) the "had/'d" wasn't there. In-
stead the construction had some rather peculiar
properties (explicable, no doubt, if you say that
underlyingly ...). Just like the [r] which I've
since learned to insert in coda-final position
(& which led me once to say "cumquarts" on the
basis of the analogy [kwO:t] of milk) [kwart]
cum[kwO:t]) cum[kwart]!), the auxiliary here
seems to have been "reinstated", through contact
with other speakers, normative pressure, etc.

I wonder if others had similar experiences with
this construction; or did everyone but me realize
from the "git-go" what the historically correct
analysis was? Hmmm. Thanks for indulging me.

tom shannon
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