maricanlas (maricanlas) wrote in linguaphiles,
maricanlas
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Calling on all native Southerners!

Hello, fellow linguaphiles!
I used to lurk here quite a bit under the name avestruz, but after I lost internet access a while back I let my journal fall into disuse and can't access it anymore.  Anyway, brief (re)introduction: I'm a first year grad student in linguistics.  I got my undergrad in Spanish and Linguistics with a minor in Anthropology.  Along the way I also took a year of Italian and one semester each of Yoruba, Biblical Hebrew, and Hindi.  I'm also interested in Tagalog and Kapampangan, since I lived in the Philippines when I was little but only spoke English once I moved to the U.S. 

The point of this post, however, is Southern English in the U.S.  This is not my native dialect, but I did live in Georgia for several years and graduated from high school and college there.  I'm working on a short paper about double modals for my syntax class - constructions like "might could" and "might should".  I've done a pretty good literature review, but my professor wanted me to google (since I live in Ohio now) and find some of my own data.  However, I'm finding it difficult to google "might could" because it turns up results that are either completely irrelevant (random instances of the words next to each other, but in different clauses, or with "might" as a noun), or  that are just prescriptivist rants about how terrible it sounds.  When I do find Southerners using "might could" online, it's usually in some cutesy Southern pride kind of editorial, and not really a natural example. 

The latter is useful, and I found a good discussion on Linguist List.  But I need some grammaticality judgments, specifically on negation and question formation.  If you are a native Southerner (or have lived in the South for a good amount of time), I would really appreciate your input on the following set of examples.
Would you ever say any of the following sentences, or have you ever heard anyone else say anything like this before?
A. We might could find it at the store.
B. We might not could find it.
C. We might couldn't find it.
D. We might not couldn't find it.
E. Might could we find it at the store?
F. Could we might find it?
G. Might we could find it?
H. We might could find it, couldn't we?
I. We might could find it, might couldn't we?

Are there any other possible variations for you?

*Edit: J. We might could find it, mightn't we? (might we not?)
(just to be thorough . . . personally, this one sounds totally weird to me, but then I'm not Southern so most of these do)

It doesn't matter if you think they sound bad or rednecky or if you think it's wrong in Standard English - I just need to know if you've ever heard of anyone using any of these types of constructions. It would also be helpful if you included what part of the South you're from, since there seems to be a ton of variation from state to state (or even between speakers from the same place).  Thanks!
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  • Weinstein

    What is the right pronunciation: [wine stine] or [wine stin]?

  • Pronunciation of Scottish Gaelic Names

    Hi! I have a question about pronunciation of certain Scottish names. I'm thinking of writing a story with Scottish characters and I'm trying…

  • Spanish pronunciation and spelling rules

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