misc

I’ve been busy with the Symposium we had here last weekend (and am now busy recovering, which is surprisingly time-consuming). So here’s a few misc things.
Geoff Pullum over at Language Log complained last year about NPR fund-raisers. KUHF, my local radio station, is having theirs at the moment. I don’t share Geoff’s dislike of them, though. How could I dislike the opportunity to hear

We might’ve could’ve pulled it off.

Seriously, though, it’s a fantastic opportunity to hear stream of consciousness White Houston English (and the occasional Houston Hispanic English). Befre you ask, this particular double model was produced by someone from Arkansas
Someone in New Zealand was looking for the Bardi for ‘hello’. Most Australian Indigenous languages don’t have greetings like ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, and the like. In Bardi it’s anggi jawal (what’s new).

When I got sick of NPR’s fundraising I turned on Radio National and came in just in time to hear someone refer to the calici virus as a ‘bunny-buster’. Priceless. (Calici virus was released in Australia about 10 years ago to control the rabbit population.)

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9 responses to “misc

  1. Are you quite sure it was “We might’ve could’ve pulled it off” and not “We might could’ve pulled it off”? Because I’ve heard (and used) the latter frequently — it’s standard Southern/Mountain dialect — but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the former.

  2. Yep, I’m absolutely positive. I’d never heard it either. It was in this story at 2:30 or so into the audio clip. he says something like [wi matə kʊldəv pʌld iɾ ɑf]

  3. Ah, well I’d render that “We mighta could’ve pulled it off,” which doesn’t sound nearly as weird to me. It’s clearly not “might’ve,” because we can see from “could’ve” that the speaker fully pronounces the ending.

  4. I’ve heard it many a time, but people usually write it ‘mighta coulda’.

  5. I should mention that I’m not absolutely convinced that there isn’t a v after the first might. Also, where does that schwa in mighta come from if it’s not a reduced auxiliary?

  6. I think it is a reduced auxiliary, but this is a jokey construction of reasonably long standing.
    Apropos of nothing, I have reason to believe we shall both be in Kobe next month.

  7. Yes, of course it comes from (ha)ve, but so what? Goodbye comes from “God be with you,” but you’d sound pretty odd using the latter today. The combination of two forms in -‘ve sounds jarring to me, whereas Anthony’s “mighta coulda” sounds fine.

  8. Sorry for the delay in replying, Steve. In my defense, ‘ve alternates with ‘a (might’ve done it vs might’a done it) in a way that ‘goodbye’ doesn’t alternate with ‘God be with you’. Perhaps it’s just my unfamiliarity with double inflected modals (might could I hear a lot, but before I played back the audio to transcribe it I would have sworn he’d said might’ve could’ve).

  9. Anthony, see you soon!

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