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On 6 Sep 2015 22:36, "Logan Kearsley" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> On 28 April 2015 at 17:24, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > On 28 Apr 2015 19:24, "Logan Kearsley" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>
> >> On 28 April 2015 at 10:24, Adam Walker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >> > On Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 11:19 AM, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >> "The(*m) fifth and sixth guests to arrive were speaking Gearthnuns".
> >> >>
> >> > Again, change were to was, and it works for me.  Them fifth and sixth
> >> > guests was crazy as all gitout.
> >
> > It works for me too, but only if the fifth and sixth guests have already
> > been mentioned. I.e. it is an allomorph of _those_.
> >
> >> My wife, who went to high school with people who speak this way in
> >> southern Virginia, is adamant that "Them fifth and sixth guests *was*
> >> crazy as all gitout." and "Them first people to walk on the moon *was*
> >> Americans" are correct, but that "Them fifth and sixth guests to
> >> arrive was speaking Gearthnuns." is not, and it should indeed be "Them
> >> fifth and sixth guests to arrive *were* speaking Gearthnuns."
> >>
> >> She does not know why, quote, "but it is". I suspect it is triggered
> >> by the difference between a predicate noun / predicate adjective
> >> construction, with "is/was/were" as a copula, on the one hand, and the
> >> use of "is/was/were" as an auxiliary verb in the progressive aspect
> >> construction on the other.
> >
> > My hunch was that maybe it has to do with a reciprocal reading, in which
> > case we might expect:
> > The guests was smoking cigars. (Pronounced "SEE-gars", I don't doubt.)
> > The guests were kissing in the corner.
> >
> > But I'd be really grateful if you could test whether your hypothesis is
> > correct: I don't know of any other reason to distinguish the copula from
> > the auxiliary verb; in my analysis BE is just a generic auxiliary verb
> > regardless of its complementation. But I'd like to find out if there is
> > reason to think this is not so for all dialects.
>
> According to my wife, "The guests was smoking cigars." is correct.
> "The(m) guests were kissing in the corner." is also correct (with
> either "the" or "them"), as you suspect, but so is "Them guests was
> kissing in the corner." And, quote, "that one actually comes up in
> high school!"
>
> "Them guests was smoking cigars" is also judged correct. She was
> unsure about "Them guests were smoking cigars", commenting that what's
> licit in Southern Virginia may not be the same as what's licit in the
> backwoods of North Carolina.
>
> Them was hugging.
> *Them were hugging.
> Them kids was hugging.
> Them kids were hugging.
> *The kids was hugging.
> The kids were hugging.
>
> Them was playing.
> *Them were playing.
> Them kids was playing.
> Them kids were playing.
> The kids was playing.
> The kids were playing.
>
> Them was playing with each other.
> *Them were playing with each other.
> *Them kids was playing with each other.
> Them kids were playing with each other.
> The kids was playing with each other.
> The kids were playing with each other.
>
> Them was crazy as all git-out.
> *Them were crazy as all git-out.
> Them kids was crazy as all git-out.
> Them kids were crazy as all git-out.
> The kids was crazy as all git-out.
> The kids were crazy as all git-out.
>
> Them was driven to school.
> Them were driven to school.
> Them kids was driven to school.
> Them kids were driven to school.
> *The kids was driven to school.
> The kids were driven to school.
>
> Them was students.
> *Them were students.
> Them kids was students.
> Them kids were students.
> *The kids was students.
> The kids were students.
>
> I will puzzle over it for a while and see if I can extract any
> conclusions later. In the meantime, there's an empirical data set if
> anybody else wants to play with it.

Thank you! One thing that seems clear is that intransitive demonstrative
_them_ requires _was_ (either because there is a rule to that effect or
because multiple dialects are reported here and the one that allows
intransitive demonstrative _them_ (at least with human reference) requires
_was_ more generally).

As for the rest of the data, the asterisks look rather random. Do you see
any pattern in it? I'd look for further data both showing speaker
judgements are stable and showing cross-speaker consensus. I'd love to be
wrong, but my best guess is that either the asterisks are errors due to the
general tendency of speakers to overasterisk or else the data itself is an
inconsistent melange of different dialects. But it'd be fascinating to
establish that that asterisking pattern is accurate and belongs to a single
dialect.

And