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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I'm curious: when is something poor usage and when is it dialect? I guess it can be both, but if something is part of a dialect then I tend to think of it in easier terms. (I think of a dialect as phrasing as well as pronunciation; I'm not sure if that's correct.)

    For instance, in Western Pennsylvania, many people add an "at" to a location inquiry: "Where are you at?" (Or more often: "Where're you at?") "Where's the bookstore at?" Obviously this is redundant, but since it seems to me to be part of a dialec

    • I don't think "where at" in that dialect is really redundant. It's just making a distinction that standard English doesn't anymore. It used to, by using "where" and "whither" for what that dialect expresses by "where ... at" and "where ... to". Then people started using "where" for "whither", which no doubt drove the pedants of the time up the wall. It's sort of like the use of "y'all" or "youse" or various other words to bring back the distinction that was lost when people started indiscriminately using "you" (instead of "thou") to refer to a single person.

      I don't quite understand complaints about "of" in place of "have" in speech. I can see that people would find it annoying in writing, but I don't see how in speech you can tell for sure whether someone's saying "should of" or "should've".