7. Pronouns

7.6 Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns occurring in the material for the present study are who, what and which. The object form whom and the possessive form whose are not attested (cf. the non-occurrence of these forms as relative pronouns). The non-occurrence of the form whom is natural in spoken language. This is also evidenced in the Cambridgeshire response Who ….to? to the SED question (IX.9.3) in the frame I wonder TO WHOM I shall give it?. The response shows the form who in the preposition-stranding construction.

Interrogatives who, what and which are used both in direct and indirect questions. Like the relative pronoun who, interrogative who has only human reference, as in examples 7.59 (a-b).

7.59 (a) Who is it you wish to see? (Rampton HP)
  (b) I'll find out who he is. (Rampton HP)

What has non-human reference, what + NP both non-human and human reference, as shown in examples 7.60 (a-c).

7.60 (a) What's it say? (Willingham ET)
  (b) I couldn’t tell you exactly what year that was but ... . (Fulbourn CM)
  (c) What woman is that coming down there? (Willingham SS)

Illustrations such as Int.: How many horses were there? – Wha’ ? (West Wickham CC) represent the use of what in the sense ‘pardon’, ‘what did you say’. What is also commonly used in elliptical phrases such as I tell you what, to emphasize or call special attention to what is said, ‘let me tell you something’, and (and reeds and lugs) and what not, used in the sense of ‘and anything/whatever/everything’.

The use of which is restricted to cases in which the meaning is clearly selective, i.e., where which implies that the choice is made from a limited number of things or persons. Illustrations of this usage include:

7.61 (a) If you’s going to milk a cow, which side would you sit? (Burwell GW)
  (b) let's see which is the best man out your boys and see which one can thr- chuck it = furthest (Willingham ES)

Which occurs both with human and non-human reference. Which and which one with non-human reference are also given as Cambridgeshire responses to the SED question (VII.8.18) in the frame ‘If you offered a boy the choice of six apples, you’d ask him: … will you have’.

Interrogative who stands for StE interrogative whose. Another means to express possessive relations is belong to. Both of these are illustrated in:

7.62     If anybody knowed who they (i.e. the particular cows) war, they’d either take ’em home and go and tell the master whoever belong to him … got lot there = if they got straying about, other folk wouldn’t know who they war. (Rampton TR)

In example 7.62, the meaning is ‘If anybody knew whose these cows were, they’d …’ and ‘other folk wouldn’t know whose these cows were’. Wright’s (EDG 1905: §422) observation about the usages in Scotland and northern and north-eastern Yorkshire are of interest: “whose is seldom used as an interrogative pronoun, a periphrasis being used instead, as who is aught the bairn? (‘whose is the child?’) who belongs this house? (‘whose house is this?’)”. The uses of who and belong to in cases such as 7.62 might be Cambridgeshire equivalents of the uses observed by Wright.

The responses to the SED question (IX.9.2) in the WHOSE-frame (‘You wonder … it is’; the reference is to a dog) are expressed by whose (that is) and whosen (it is) in Cambridgeshire. Whosen is also the form given for the neighbouring counties of Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire. This form is not attested in the interviews carried out for the present study.

The material in this study was collected by an interview method. Although the circumstances in interviews were made as natural as possible by the interviewees’ free choice of topics, by the presence of a friend or a relative and by the interviewer’s minimal interruptions, interrogative sentences with interrogative pronouns are not very common in the speech of interviewees.

7.7 Indefinite Pronouns

The pronouns discussed in this section express various degrees of indefiniteness (some, any, etc.). Some of them might be called ‘distributive’ rather than ‘indefinite’ (each, every, etc.). For the lack of a good general term, I prefer to use the traditional term ‘indefinite pronouns’.

The uses of some, something and somebody do not differ from the uses of these pronouns in present-day StE. Their uses are exemplified in 7.63 (a-c).

7.63 (a) Don’t hardly grow no hay today = only = some farms where they got few racehorses and that (Bartlow CP)
  (b) I see something come through the hole (Castle Camps JH)
  (c) I called out and asked somebody what the time were (Rampton TR)

Someone is not attested in the material for the present study.

Any, anything, anybody and anyone are used in positive contexts exclusively, as in examples 7.64 (a-d).

7.64 (a) and then pick any = any gipsy or = anybody up you know travellers who were there (Rampton HP)
Int.: For a certain type of land?
MP: erm how = go on any on it (Harlton MP)
  (c) There used to be cigarrettes, 'bacco, beer, anything you like. (Bassingbourn BR)
  (d) That's the only time … he hit anyone of us (Willingham ET)

The corresponding negative pronouns no, none, nothing and nobody are accompanied by another negative or negatives. (Such redundant use of negatives, i.e. ‘multiple negation’, is discussed in 5.4.) Thus, no, none, nothing and nobody are found in cases in which present-day StE uses either any, anything or anybody accompanied by a negative verb or adverb or no, none, nothing or nobody accompanied by a positive verb. Cases like the ones in examples 7.65 (a-c) abound in my material.

7.65 (a) I don't keep no fire then. (Rampton TR)
  (b) We weren't none on us very old. (Willingham ET)
  (c) Nobody don't say nothing. (Willingham AA)

(For the use of the preposition on for StE of, see 10.2.2). No one is very infrequent but occurs in cases such as [I] don't see no one (Bartlow CP).

As illustrated by examples 7.66 (a-e), the uses of every, everything, everybody, everyone and each do not differ from those in present-day StE.

7.66 (a) And about every = gentleman or = lady they’d have perhaps = perhaps one = two or three servants. (Harston AS)
  (b) He sold shoes and everything (Harlton MP)
  (c) There were a method in everybody’s madness (Willingham ES)
MH: Which ponds did you fill in?
AA: a = everyone in Willingham (Willingham AA)
  (e) but mostly they’d each have their own bits (Rampton TR)

The pronoun all is used with singular nouns in the sense of ‘the whole (of)’, and with plural nouns in the sense of ‘the entire amount of’, ‘without exception’. In both cases, all may be followed by the definite article or another pronoun (demonstrative, possessive, etc.). These uses conform to present-day StE uses, as exemplified in 7.67 (a-b).

7.67 (a) They put all this here fertilizer on the ground (West Wickham CC)
  (b) You take all the big families = they all, nearly all lived to be the oldest (Willingham ES)

(Example 7.67 (a) also shows the intensification of demonstrative this with here, discussed in 7.3.2). When all is accompanied by a personal pronoun in the subject form, all usually either immediately follows the personal pronoun or is separated from it by a word or words, whereas when accompanied by a personal pronoun in the object form, all usually precedes the personal pronoun. Thus, there are cases such as illustrated by they all in example 7.67 (b) and by the example They got dad and all them there (Willingham ET). Occasionally, however, the object form of the personal pronoun precedes all, as in I knowed them all (Rampton TR). The construction with of/on is extremely rare, although it is attested in a few cases such as They were thatched one time = all of them were (Rampton HP).

As a singular pronoun, all is used in the sense of ‘everything’, as in MP: I done everything on a farm – Int.: Mm – MP: [COUGHS] = all but milking and thatching (Harlton).

The expressions and all (‘too, also, as well’) and and all that/and that all (‘et cetera’) are frequent. These expressions occur in contexts such as illustrated by examples 7.68 (a-b).

7.68 (a) and I’m got the lid and all (Willingham ES)
  (b) You could have a good fire with coal and all that (Bartlow CP)

The uses of other and others correspond to those in StE. Thus, they occur in cases such as Then I worked for = another coalman in here (Fulbourn CM) and Some could do more than others (Rampton TR). One ... the other is used when speaking of two, and one ... another when speaking of more than two, as in the following examples.

7.69 (a) [We] used to pull it up with buckets. One used to go down, the ([ðə]) other one used to come up. (West Wickham CC)
  (b) [He] stepped out the way of one train = in front of another one (Rampton TR)

The definite article preceding other frequently has the form th’ [ð], although the full form the, usually pronounced [ðə], occurs in a few cases. The SED responses (to question IX.8.8; in the frame ONE … THE OTHER) for Cambridgeshire are one … th’other and one … the t’other. The form t’other (without the preceding the) is also attested in the interviews carried out for the present study. (For out instead of StE out of, see 10.2.4).

The uses of both also correspond to those in StE, as in [That was] splash[ed] from both sides (Willingham SS) and They are both dead (Over EF).

7.8 Reciprocal Pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are infrequent in the interviews carried out for the present study. The most frequent of these pronouns is one another, which is used in cases such as You couldn’t see one another (Waterbeach BB). One another is also the SED response (III.13.6; in the frame FIGHT EACH OTHER) recorded for Cambridgeshire and for a number of other counties, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, all counties neighbouring Cambridgeshire. Each other is not attested.

According to the SED response (VI.2.8; in the frame PULL EACH OTHER’S hair), each other’s is expressed by one another’s in England except in Leicestershire and Rutland. One another’s is not attested in the material for the present study. Instead, each other’s occurs in There were twelve on us in there when I = got hit. Twelve on us. Dressed each other's wounds and that, you know (Fulbourn CM).