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Tell me if you've discussed this about SW Pennsylvania

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MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-14-10 10:50 PM
Original message
Tell me if you've discussed this about SW Pennsylvania
... specifically, Pittsburgh and surrounding areas (also SE Ohio).

Ordinary language seems forever spoken as-
This device "needs fixed".
That task "needs done".

To be? Or, not to be? Why is it particular to this area?

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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 08:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know if it's ever been discussed here, but wikipedia has a little bit on
Pittsburgh English. This little bit sounds like the missing "to be"s:

like, need, or want + past participle (Murray, Frazer and Simon 1996; Tenny 1998; McElhinny 1999; Murray and Simon 1999; Montgomery 2001; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Murray and Simon 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

Examples: The car needs washed; The cat wants petted.

Further explanation: More common constructions are Babies like cuddling or Babies like to be cuddled; The car needs washing or The car needs to be washed; and The cat wants petting or The cat wants to be petted.

Geographic distribution: Found predominantly in the North Midland region, but especially in southwestern Pennsylvania (Murray, Frazer and Simon 1996; Murray and Simon 1999; Murray and Simon 2002). Need + past participle is the most common construction, followed by want + past participle, and then like + past participle. The forms are "implicationally related" to one another (Murray and Simon 2002). This means the existence of one construction in a given location entails the existence (or not) of another in that location. Heres the implicational breakdown: where we find like + past participle, we will also necessarily find want and need + past participle; where we find want + past participle, we will also find need + past participle, but we may or may not find like + past participle; where we find need + past participle, we may or may not find want + past participle and like + past participle. Put another way, the existence of the least common construction implies the necessary existence of the two more common constructions, but the existence of the most common construction does not necessarily entail existence of the two less common constructions.

Origins: like + past participle is Scots-Irish (Murray and Simon 2002). need + past participle is Scots-Irish (Murray, Frazer, and Simon 1996; Murray and Simon 1999; Montgomery 2001; Murray and Simon 2002). While Adams (2002) argues that want + past participle could be from Scots-Irish or German, it seems likely that this construction is Scots-Irish, as Murray and Simon (1999 and 2002) claim. like and need + past participle are Scots-Irish, the distributions of all three constructions are implicationally related, the area where they are predominantly found is most heavily influenced by Scots-Irish, and a related construction, want + directional adverb, as in The cat wants out, is Scots-Irish (Crozier 1984).


There's more at the site.
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MrMickeysMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-21-10 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. That seemed pretty acurate-
The interesting thing about this region of PA is that the predominant form of Pittsburgh English hasn't diminished over time. It just keeps ticking!

I've said many a time (want + diretional adverb) "The cat wants out", or something like it and wonder if that form is related to what clearly became "Pittsburghese".

Thanks for sharing that little ditty.
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