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Dialect differences: Grammar

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1 Dialect differences: Grammar
P Trudgill (1994) Dialects. London: Routledge. A Hughes et al. (2005) English accents and dialects (4th ed). London: Hodder Arnold. Chapter 2 J Cheshire (1982) Variation in an English dialect. Cambridge: CUP.

2 Grammatical differences
Rather like phonetic differences in that We are comparing with RP as a standard We will avoid making value judgments But note that nonstandard grammar is often denegrated Less like phonetic differences in that we have differences of System Distribution Incidence Realisation

3 Grammar differences between two dialects
Differences of grammar system Additional distinctions (very rare); distinctions “missing” Differences of distribution equivalent morphemes/grammatical devices, but the contexts in which they occur differ Differences of incidence equivalent morphemes, but in particular constructions, a different morpheme is chosen Differences of realisation equivalent morphemes, but the realisation differs

4 Grammatical systems “Grammar” can refer to everything from morphology to syntax “Morphology” in English mostly refers to suffixes, but there are a few cases of “ablaut” (strong verbs, irregular plurals) Typical morphosyntactic phenomena in English include: number (N and V), tense (V), agreement (only in present tense verbs), case (only in pronouns) “Syntax” refers to issues about word order

5 1. The verb to be RP: am is are was were am not aren’t isn’t wasn’t
weren’t being have/has been several am is are were ain’t / amn’t ain’t weren’t being Ø been no sg in past several is was in’t wan’t being been no pl form SW be wor bain’t wan’t bein’ been !!! Examples of different distribution, different incidence, different realisation,

6 2. Pronouns RP marks pronouns for case, number and gender
1S 2S MS FS NS 1P 2P P Nominative I you he she it we you they Accusative me you him her it us you them Possessive adj my your his her its our your their Possessive pronoun mine yours his hers its ours yours theirs Several dialects use us for 1S accusative: eg give us a break Some dialects still distinguish 2S and 2P, as in OE: thou, thee, thy, thine usually with 2P as a polite form for single addressee Or have an explicit plural form: y’all, youse, yiz, you-uns, ye (~you for 2S) me for ‘my’ is quite widespread

7 2. Pronouns RP marks pronouns for case, number and gender
1S 2S MS FS NS 1P 2P P Nominative I you he she it we you they Accusative me you him her it us you them Possessive adj my your his her its our your their Possessive pronoun mine yours his hers its ours yours theirs Conflation of nom and acc, esp in pl: us, them Regularisation of reflexive: accusative: meself, usselves; possessive: hisself, theirselves Alternate forms, especially of FS nominative her, oo, … Dorset: ee (MS, FS), er (NS), ie ±animate N Irish mine’s for mine Hypercorrection me → I, eg *between you and I

8 2. Pronouns Differences of system Differences of distribution
2nd person sing~plural distinction Differences of distribution Use of me rather than my in meself Both me and my are found, but not in the same contexts Differences of incidence Use of us where you’d expect me Use of me where you’d expect my Us and me are also used where you would expect them Differences of realisation Oo = she

9 3. Past tense of strong verbs
Weak verbs have a single past-tense form used for both simple past and perfect (+ed) I worked, I have worked Strong verbs (mostly) have a different form for these two (vowel ablaut, sometimes +en) swim/swam/swum, see/saw/seen, write/wrote/written come/came/come, get/got/got, have/had/had, put/put/put Mixed verbs (+t/d) in this case are like weak verbs buy/bought, lose/lost, leave/left, find/found, feed/fed

10 3. Past tense of strong verbs
In many dialects there is a strong tendency to bring the strong verbs into line with the weak by collapsing the distinction between simple past and past participle merging one with the other, in either direction I seen him, I done it (using PP for simpe past) I have wrote, I have went, I have saw (vice versa) or using the present form, on the model of come, run I see him yesterday, I give him what for or using an anomalous variant form writ, thunk or using a form of “analogical levelling” drawed historical cases of this have found their way into RP dived (was dove), got (was gotten), behoved (was behoove)

11 4. Negation Multiple negation is widely found in nonstandard dialects:
I didn’t have no dinner “Double negative” is an inaccurate term; linguists prefer “negative concord” She never told no one nothing. Negative concord was part of standard dialect, but RP has diverged (not v.v.) cf other languages, eg French ne … pas

12 4. Negation Other aspects of negation vary across dialects:
ain’t as negative form of all forms of both be and have I ain’t coming, I ain’t seen him, they ain’t eaten other idiosyncratic negative forms divn’t, amn’t, bain’t never as simple negative instead of not or didn’t He said I skipped school but I never Even though he was unmarked, he never hit the target I put the key in the lock but it never turned but restricted with non-past-tense verbs: That’s never my brother * I never smoke (≠ I don’t smoke)

13 4. Negation no (or nae) rather than not
He’ll no do that again in a hurry use of not after the pronoun, rather than n’t, especially in questions I told you did I not? Are you not coming? Did he not tell you? She’ll not go, I’ve not got one some non-modal/auxiliary verbs have a negative form with n’t ???

14 5. Participle forms Use of progressive or past partciple with verbs like want, need Southern England, RP I want it washed, it wants washing Midlands, Northern England I want it washing, it wants washing Scotland, Ireland I want it washed, it wants washed

15 6. Have Have acts as both an auxiliary verb, and a full verb meaning ‘possess’ As an auxiliary verb it has a negative form hasn’t, haven’t, hadn’t it can form interrogatives by simple inversion when an auxiliary, but not as a modal Have you seen it? Has the man gone? it can be emphasised simply by the addition of stress He has eaten. The man has gone. it can participate in tag questions he has eaten, hasn’t he? they haven’t arrived yet, have they? As an full verb it needs auxiliary do to form the negative He doesn’t have a car. * He hasn’t a car to form an interrogative Does he have a car? * Has he a car? to show emphasis He does have / *has a car He doesn’t have / *hasn’t a car in tag questions He has a car, doesn’t he/ *hasn’t he ? He doesn’t have a car, does he ? * He hasn’t a car, has he ?

16 6. Have Some dialects use the auxiliary properties even with the full-verb have ie the * examples on previous slide are OK It also has a modal use (=‘must’) with mixed behaviour Do you have to go ~ ? Have you to go? I don’t have to go ~ ? I haven’t to go. Other differences surround use of phrases like Do you have ~ Have you got Did you have ~ Had you In some dialects, be also can take or requires auxiliary do He do be a funny chap Do you be living here?

17 7. Word order differences
Order of direct and indirect objects Standard English has IO>DO She gave the man a book She gave him a book She gave him it Several dialects also allow: She gave it him (quite common) She gave it the man (common in North, * in South) She gave a book him (not common, but possible in North, esp with contrastive stress) She gave a book the man (ditto) Alternate forms of particle verb constructions He turned out the light. Put on your coat. She took off her shoes. He turned the light out. Put your coat on. She took her shoes off. Both acceptable, but southerners prefer (b), northerners prefer (a)

18 8. Relative pronouns Who ~ which ~ that as in Various dialects allow
That is the man… who did it; who(m) I saw that did it; that I saw That is the brick… which did it; which I saw that did it; that I saw; I saw Various dialects allow That is the man what done it which done it as done it at done it done it Whose often replaced by what’s or that’s That’s the man what’s son did it That’s the man what his son did it That’s the man that’s son did it

19 Conclusion There are many other examples
Many nonstandard features are common to many dialects, though some other things are still very particular Some could be analysed as lexical or even phonetic examples no for not, ain’t for aren’t “Grammar” covers everything from morphology to word order Not quite so easy to categorise


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