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Subject:

Re: A question about a locution used by the "girlfriend" of Trayvon Martin

From:

Paul Hopper <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 5 Apr 2012 23:45:26 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (296 lines)

Danielle and others,

That's very interesting. Years ago I knew an elderly woman, a second
generation Bohemian, who had known Czech as a child but lost it quite
early. She was fond of telling stories, and she used the English
expression 'go to work and' whenever she wanted to grab attention for an
event. Two examples I remember: "he went to work and put six spoonfuls of
sugar in the cup" and "five miles outside the town their car went to work
and ran out of gas.' She did this very often. It was very striking. A
relic of a Czech perfective verb, perhaps? In my article I discuss the
foregrounding function of these pseudo-coordinations in discourse.

'Turn around and' has the peculiarity that (in COBUILD) it collates 89%
with the verb 'say', and 96% with verba dicendi generally.

By the way, the restriction of 'try and' to uninflected forms is well
known, and is described in the Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik,
Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman 1985), see pp. 507.
See also pp. 979 and 987-8 for "quasi-auxiliaries" and
pseudo-coordinations. They discuss the emotive uses of these forms also,
like 'went and did it', 'sit there and..."

Best,

Paul


> Paul, I haven't read your article (unfortunately) so I hope what I say
> here
> below makes sense.
>
> I remember one student in my first years of teaching in a Quebec City high
> school. She, Ginette, repetitively used "il arrive il dit" before almost
> every
> citation in her narration. We were in an Upper Town school but Ginette was
> among the students coming from the Lower Town part of the city where the
> poor
> and lower working class lived at the time. The expression was fairly
> common
> among the Lower Town students but Ginette was definitely the champion. It
> made
> her sound like a low class girl who wanted to be emphatic in order to be
> listened to.
>
> I could never make any sense of that until I studied aspect and
> backgounding/foregrounding in discourse in Algonquian languages.
>
> Algonquian languages have no indirect speech so they must constantly
> quote. They
> have two ways of doing so.
>
> If the quotation is just a detail in the narration they put the quotation
> first,
> followed by "s/he says" in the indicative mood. This is understood as a
> backgrounded quotation.
>
> If the quotation is crucial to the progress of the narration, they use the
> particle "ekue" meaning 'and then' + "s/he said" in the conjunctive mood,
> followed by the quotation. This is understood as a foregrounded quotation.
>
> To me, what we see here in "come and say", "turn (a)round and say" or
> French "il
> arrive il dit" are foregrounding techniques in discourse. I concur this
> way of
> looking at it would englobe categories such as "indignant", etc. mentioned
> in
> this conversation.
>
> I suppose, as was mentioned by one of us, there might be some cognitive
> motivation behind the surface form as there seems to be some typological
> tendencies in the constructions.
>
> Best to all,
> Danielle
>
>
> Quoting Paul Hopper <[log in to unmask]>:
>
>> In my article ďHendiadys and auxiliation in EnglishĒ (in Complex
>> Sentences
>> in Grammar and Discourse, ed. by Joan Bybee and Mickey Noonan, 145-173,
>> Benjamins 2002), I discuss things like turn (a)round and, go ahead and,
>> try and, take NP and, and a few others.
>>
>> Paul Hopper
>>
>>
>> > Its most usually "turned round and", Damien, of course, "around" being
>> > less usual outside N America.
>> >
>> > Ive heard "turned round and"  a lot in NZ too.
>> >
>> > Peter
>> >
>> > On 5 Apr 2012, at 09:47, Damien Hall wrote:
>> >
>> > Dear all
>> >
>> > First, a forward from Gillian Sankoff and Bill Labov, who read this
>> > question here, but Gillianís having trouble posting to the list (the
>> > server can be finicky), so Iím forwarding the message:
>> >
>> >
>> > Dear Hal,
>> >             For this, see
>> >                 Spears, Arthur. 1982. The Black English semi-auxiliary
>> > come.  Language 58:850-72.
>> > The meaning is one of moral indignation.
>> > It's very likely that Trayvon's girlfriend did NOT pronounce the word
>> > "and", which is transcribed here.
>> > We have not been able to locate a sound file to check the
>> transcription.
>> >                 Best wishes,
>> >                                 Gillian Sankoff & Bill Labov
>> >
>> >
>> > The Ďmoral indignationí meaning has been discussed in this thread and
>> > people have said there isnít any reason to think TMís girlfriend was
>> > indignant, but I think the analysis can be slightly modified so that
>> itís
>> > clear that she might be using the same construction.  Maybe you donít
>> have
>> > to be actually indignant to use it, but the situation youíre in has to
>> be
>> > shocking, scandalous, urgent, etc, or at least you have to want to
>> convey
>> > that thatís what you feel.  In this case, the situation obviously
>> _was_
>> > shocking, scandalous and urgent, but in general this quotation
>> reminded me
>> > strongly of BrE _turn around and say_, which can but doesnít always
>> convey
>> > that the situation described is objectively shocking.  Hereís what I
>> wrote
>> > to Hal about my impressions yesterday.
>> >
>> > It reminds me very strongly of the (I think) BrE narrative
>> construction
>> > _turn around and say_.  Googling will show that itís quite common.
>> The
>> > people at this thread
>> >
>> > http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?p=32491238
>> >
>> > include it in a list of locutions they hate, but have a nice
>> definition of
>> > it, which is Ďsay something unexpectedí.  I donít think itís just
>> that,
>> > because (as pointed out by the posters in this thread) it can be used
>> > before every turn in a conversation thatís being described, so that
>> > sometimes it seems to be more-or-less a simple synonym for _say_.
>> This is
>> > the sense in which this _come and say_ reminds me of _turn around and
>> > say_;  in the made-up account of the use of _turn around and say_
>> which
>> > begins this thread:
>> >
>> >
>> > Why do people say this all the time? I had a conversation today with a
>> > mate and she kept saying she turned round and said, then he turned
>> round
>> > and said, i was feeling dizzy by the end of it! If these people were
>> > actually turning round when they turned round and said, nobody would
>> be
>> > saying anything, they'd be too busy throwing up!
>> >
>> >
>> > the writer makes it clear that you can use _turn around and say_
>> multiple
>> > times in describing the same conversation, so that the construction of
>> the
>> > discourse when written down can look similar to this _come and say_
>> > narration that you quote.  Maybe I can categorise the similarity by
>> saying
>> > that it looks as if both locutions can be used to narrate the turns in
>> > conversations where the narrator wants to convey that the situation
>> was
>> > shocking, scandalous, urgent etc.  The content in _turn around and
>> say_
>> > cases isnít always (or maybe even usually) objectively shocking,
>> > scandalous or urgent, but the narrator is inviting the listener to
>> share
>> > his/her sense of that. Of course, this is different in that the
>> content of
>> > TMís Ďgirlfriendísí narration _was_ shocking, as someone ended up
>> dead;
>> > but you see what reminded me of _turn around and say_.
>> >
>> > Damien
>> >
>> > ________________________________
>> >
>> > The Variationist List - discussion of everything related to
>> variationist
>> > sociolinguistics.
>> >
>> > To send messages to the VAR-L list (subscribers only), write to:
>> > [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> >
>> > To unsubscribe from the VAR-L list, click the following link:
>> > http://jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=VAR-L&A=1
>> >
>> >
>> > ########################################################################
>> >
>> > The Variationist List - discussion of everything related to
>> variationist
>> > sociolinguistics.
>> >
>> > To send messages to the VAR-L list (subscribers only), write to:
>> > [log in to unmask]
>> >
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>> >
>>
>>
>> --
>> Paul J. Hopper
>> Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of Humanities
>> Department of English
>> Carnegie Mellon University
>> Pittsburgh, PA 15213
>>
>> Adjunct Professor of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, University
>> of
>> Pittsburgh
>>
>> Senior External Fellow
>> School of Linguistics and Literature
>> Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
>> Freiburg i.Br., Germany
>>
>> ########################################################################
>>
>> The Variationist List - discussion of everything related to variationist
>> sociolinguistics.
>>
>> To send messages to the VAR-L list (subscribers only), write to:
>> [log in to unmask]
>>
>> To unsubscribe from the VAR-L list, click the following link:
>> http://jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=VAR-L&A=1
>>
>
>
> "The only hope we have as human beings is to learn each other's languages.
>  Only
> then can we truly hope to understand one another."
>
> Professor Danielle E. Cyr
> Department of French Studies
> York University
> Toronto, ON, Canada, M3J 1P3
> Tel. 1.416.736.2100 #310180
> FAX. 1.416.736.5924
> [log in to unmask]
>
> ########################################################################
>
> The Variationist List - discussion of everything related to variationist
> sociolinguistics.
>
> To send messages to the VAR-L list (subscribers only), write to:
> [log in to unmask]
>
> To unsubscribe from the VAR-L list, click the following link:
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>
>


-- 
Paul J. Hopper
Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of Humanities
Department of English
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Adjunct Professor of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, University of
Pittsburgh

Senior External Fellow
School of Linguistics and Literature
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
Freiburg i.Br., Germany

########################################################################

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