Monday, April 13, 2009
In today's NYT there's an article about a recent speech Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made at a Washington dinner. In it he mentioned his fascination with such conveniences as the dishwasher. Quoting from the article:
"'I have to admit,' he said, 'that I’m one of those people that still thinks the dishwasher is a miracle. What a device! And I have to admit that because I think that way, I like to load it. I like to look in and see how that dishes were magically cleaned.'
The last clause looked to me to be an example of a doubly-filled COMP phenomenon, which are supposedly no longer grammatical in modern English. Then I realized this may have been an instance of faulty transcription on someone's part; what Justice Thomas likely said was "... see how the dishes were magically cleaned."
But a little googling revealed, aside from hits from older English texts, some examples of true doubly-filled COMPisms from modern spoken English, including this one you can read and hear here:
"You can see how that it changes."
"I hope you find out why that it got like that."
... and a true gem:
"How do you tell someone when that they shouldn't be there??"
It shouldn't surprise us that syntactic phenomena that were productive in the standard until quite recently should still be flying under the radar in the spoken language (especially regional dialects), but I found these examples intriguing.
Image above is from here.
Posted by Mark Louden at 1:06 PM