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Mind you: an enunciative description

Graham Ranger

Abstracts

The predicate mind is situated somewhere between the lexical and the grammatical, lending itself to various grammaticalised uses, such as never mind or mind employed alone as a form of discourse particle. The present article deals with the parenthetical sequence mind you, using examples taken from the British National Corpus. After a brief discussion evoking the methodological difficulties implied by corpus study of a polyvalent, multiword marker of this type, I will propose a description, formulated within the Theory of Enunciative Operations, according to which, in a sequence of the general form "p mind you q", mind you indicates that q operates a retroactive adjustment relative to the inferences which the utterance of p might give rise to. This mechanism is doubly retroactive when mind you is in final position relative to q, i.e. "p q, mind you". I will then consider two suggestions as to the diachronic sources of the mind you sequence, favouring the hypothesis that this use has developed from an inverted imperative construction. This will enable me to link the discursive functions of the predicate mind to its other values, via a schematic form according to which an occurrence of mind implies the imposition of some phenomenon b on the attention of a subject a.

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0. Introduction

1The verb mind lends itself to several grammaticalised or partially grammaticalised constructions, including mind used alone, mind you and never mind. The present paper will focus on mind you, in uses of the type illustrated below.

  • 1 Unless otherwise indicated, all examples are taken from the British National Corpus material, acces (...)

(1) A : Did you fight this time?
     B : No I was only garrison artillery on guns.
Mind you we used to fire guns. [FYE]1

(2) A : Star Trek, it takes one million dollars to film just erm to make just one episode (pause) of Star Trek.
     B : I think it's a great programme
mind you. [KE0]

  • 2 Some authors might prefer to speak of pragmaticalisation, arguing that discourse markers do not for (...)

2Mind you is often mentioned as a discourse marker, by Biber et al, for example, or on online ELT sites, but is rarely studied in its own right. Two notable exceptions are Brinton (2008) who devotes two pages of her study of The Comment Clause in English to a hypothesis concerning the grammaticalisation of mind you, and Bell (2008) whose five-page article is dedicated exclusively to mind you. I shall be returning to these papers later on.2

3The following study is based upon material taken from the BNC, and obtained in particular via the Web interface at Brigham Young University http://corpus.byu.edu/​bnc/​.

4I will begin by indicating some awkward methodological issues when working on mind you – or indeed other similar, chiefly oral markers. Next I will move on to propose an enunciative description for the discourse marker mind you, in initial and final positions. Lastly I will consider the relationship between mind you and the enunciative configuration operated by the lexical verb mind in the light of Bell’s and Brinton’s arguments for the grammaticalisation of mind you.

1. Methodological issues

  • 3 In placing « mind you », etc. between inverted commas I mean to indicate the exact expression used (...)

5It is clear that mind you, in its use as a discourse marker, is associated essentially with spontaneous oral texts – or with the imitation thereof, in fictional contexts. This intuitive observation is confirmed by an indifferentiated search on the BNC for the sequence « mind you »3 which reveals the following generic tendencies:

SECTION

ALL

SPOKEN

FICTION

MAGAZINE

NEWSPAPER

NON-ACAD

ACADEMIC

MISC

FREQ

1355

841

288

76

54

25

6

65

PER MIL

14.08

84.41

18.10

10.47

5.16

1.52

0.39

3.12

6As we can see, the frequency in the section spoken is 84.41 tokens per million words, followed by 18.10 tokens / mil in fiction, 10.47 tokens / mil in magazine, 5.16 in newspaper and 1.52 in non-academic.

7Further work on the database reveals that, within the subsections of the spoken section, the sequence « mind you » occurs with a frequency of 172.21 tokens per million words in the subsection conversation and 71.34 and 50.37 respectively in the two interview subsections (oral history and interview).

8These observations therefore reinforce our initial intuitions. However, on closer inspection, we notice that the sequence « mind you » is not limited to the discourse marker we are interested in here, but may also form part of an injunctive construction, or a « don’t mind » sequence, illustrated below:

(3) Mother, mind you don't fall off edge of that bed! [KB1]

(4) As long as you buy the milk, I don't mind you having cereal. [KBL]

9The same sequence might equally involve the common noun mind either standing alone (5) or as part of the verbal expression BEAR IN mind (6):

(5) What a very nasty suspicious mind you have. [HHA]

(6) Take people to objections, take them to where you want them to be and bear in mind you 're always looking for an objection. [KDJ]

10We might allow ourselves to consider that these occurrences are liable to occur across all sections with equal frequency – although this is not, objectively, very likely – in which case the relative frequencies of the discourse marker mind you across genres noted above remains basically unchanged.

11We might alternatively attempt to filter out the false positives illustrated in (3-6) by including punctuation, looking for the sequences « . Mind you, », « , mind you, » and « , mind you. », i.e. by limiting the search string to a parenthetical element delimited by pauses. This method looks promising, at first, but the results returned show that the section in which the strings are found is now not spoken but fiction.

12It is clear that this apparent contradiction results from the techniques used in transcribing the spoken material of the BNC where the choice to include full-stops or commas appears to have been left very largely up to the transcriber and in any case lacks the systematicity of direct speech conventions in fictional texts. A manual check confirms that the sequence mind you does indeed appear, in the spoken part of the BNC, without any particular delimiting punctuation.

13The rather unsatisfactory solution adopted was therefore to search for the sequence « mind you », where mind is explicitly tagged as a verb (unfortunately the BNC does not include « discourse marker » tags) within the spoken subsections of the BNC featuring the greatest number of tokens and then to sort through the results by hand, so to speak.

  • 4 Bell, working on a different corpus, makes the same observation: « [] the major occurrence of M[in (...)

14This search returns 730 results. Of the first 100 results, there are 7 false positives (« don’t mind you » etc.), three final « mind you » sequences, one median sequence and 89 initial « mind you » sequences, suggesting that initial « mind you » is far and away the most frequent configuration.4

2. Enunciative description

2.1 Initial « mind you »

15Let us begin by considering (1), quoted again at greater length than above:

  • 5 Parentheses are used conventionally in the BNC to anonymise proper names.

(1) A : Did you see much action then?
B : Mm?
A : Did you did you fight at that time then? Did you fight this time?
B : No I was only garrison artillery on guns. Mind you we used to fire guns, I saw (-----) Cathedral knocked down, by Gerry [sic]. [FYE]5

16In the above sequence speaker A is interviewing speaker B about his war experiences. A asks whether B was involved in action: « see much action » is reformulated as « fight ». B answers negatively « I was only garrison artillery on guns », and then qualifies this answer, which might suggest that he had no experience of active service with the sequence « we used to fire guns » announced by « mind you ».

17Let us represent this configuration as « p mind you q ».

18In the case in point « p » corresponds to the sequence I was only garrison artillery on guns and « q » to the sequence we used to fire guns.

  • 6 I made use of a similar model involving an inference leading from p to p+ in Ranger 2009.

19In using « mind you » the speaker anticipates an inference potentially available to the co-speaker leading from p I was only garrison artillery on guns to what I will term p+, an inferentially augmented p, which might be I took no part in active service etc.6 The inference from p to p+ is countered with the affirmation of q we used to fire guns, acting as an obstacle, blocking the movement from p to p+ and thereby retroactively restricting the interpretation of p to p-only.

20Here is a further example of the same phenomenon:

(7) And er I never remember er my parents painting anything in the house at all. I don't think my father would've known how to use a paint brush anyway. You know what I mean i-- i-- it wasn't done, wasn't done. Th-- th-- when the house was built it was painted and I think that used to last it's [sic] [] lifetime. Mind you it was paint then it wasn't like it is today, it was sort of good lead paint was put on, and it did last. [FY5]

21The first part of this example tells us that, in the past, people never thought of redecorating their homes, cf. « it wasn’t done, wasn’t done [] it used to last it’s [sic] lifetime ». This might be construed to imply that homes were in a poor state of repair. The speaker anticipates and corrects this potential inference with « it was paint then it wasn’t like it is today, it was sort of good lead paint was put on, and it did last ». And so the quality of the paint used at the time – « good lead paint », we are told – prevents us from inferring that people did not look after their habitat. Rather, the decoration used to last longer.

22I do not think one can understate the complexity of what is happening here. Mind you signals a movement whereby the following proposition q acts to counter a conclusion which the speaker considers the co-speaker might have drawn from the speaker’s utterance of p.

  • 7 Cf. Ranger 2012 and other articles in Deswelle-Filippi (ed.) 2012.

23The discourse marker mind you here bears witness to the way in which speakers are continuously monitoring their own discourse, acting to dispel misinterpretations or finetune representations, as they speak.7

  • 8 The terms used here are inspired from the model presented in Halliday (1985).

24I have written above that the inference which q acts to counter is drawn not from p but from the speaker’s utterance of p. In other words, it performs, in the terms of Bell (2008): « an abrupt shift of discourse focus away from the ideational content onto the process of discourse construction itself » (2008: 916).8 Let us quote one more example of this type of initial mind you, to illustrate what is involved:

(8) A : When I went first went to work at a laundry. I used to work there eight till six and er I got four and six a week. Four and six when I went down Nottingham to work, at the box place, Henry (-----)' s I got seven and six a week. And I got paid one and six some weeks for a weekly ticket. In them days mother used to give me sixpence to spend and
B : (laugh)
A :
Mind you you could do a lot with that sixpence. We used to go to pictures. Used to get in pictures for thruppence, tuppence and thruppence. [FYD]

25Here, in a sequence drawn from the oral history part of the BNC, speaker A says his mother gave him sixpence to spend. Speaker B, presumably the interviewer, laughs, and this is taken by Speaker A to signify that Speaker B considers sixpence to be a very small sum of money to spend. Speaker A then corrects this misinterpretation with « Mind you you could do a lot with that sixpence ». Now, interestingly, both (8a) and (8b) below, modified from (8), appear to function as acceptable discourse sequences:

(8a) Mother used to give me sixpence to spend. Mind you you could do a lot with that sixpence.
(8b) Mother used to give me sixpence to spend. Mind you you couldn’t do much with sixpence.

26In (8a), the sequence q following mind you counters the potential inference: « sixpence was not much pocket money », for example.

27In (8b), the sequence q counters the potential inference: « sixpence was a reasonably amount of pocket money ».

28The point is that both inferences are potentially available to a co-speaker from the speaker’s utterance of p. The inference drawn from p, or p+, is not, I would suggest, an objectively available consequence of p, but a potential, contextually available inference, drawn from the speaker’s choice to assert p.

29It is for this reason that mind you is a possible paraphrase of some, but not all, concessive configurations. If we take the standard concessive « Though it was raining, he went out for a walk », implying a commonly held – but, in the current context, inoperative – incompatibility between rainy weather and outdoor exercise, we observe that a paraphrase with mind you is unsatisfactory:

(9) Though it was raining, he went out for a walk / It was raining but he went out for a walk.
(9a) ?? It was raining.
Mind you, he went out for a walk.

30On the other hand, the following continuation with mind you appears conceivable:

(9b) It was raining. Mind you, there was a lot of rain that year.

  • 9 Note that, in accordance with our earlier observations, the speaker might equally have continued, M (...)

31Here mind you tells us that q counters the inference which might lead the co-speaker to conclude from the speaker’s utterance of p It was raining, that this situation was in some way unusual.9

32From these observations we can say that mind you utterances correspond to the rectificative-argumentative type of concession described in Ranger (1998: 39-44), in that:

  • the concession operates on an enriched or augmented interpretation of p, possible in context but not necessarily objectively available ;

  • the concessive movement operates retroactively, as a repair or an afterthought, with q restricting the inferences p might potentially trigger.

33Bell (2008) describes mind you as a « cancellative discourse marker », considering that mind you is used to cancel an « aspect of meaning derivable from the prior discourse P, either globally or locally [] by the current message Q » (916). While the term of « cancellation » appears a little excessive to me, the overall description corresponds broadly to that given here. However, Bell goes on to say that mind you can function as a « concessive or non-concessive cancellative » (917) giving the following example as « non-concessive »:

(10) Such mangling of the language is a commonplace in football these days. The game is out of kilter. It is accorded far more prominence and respect than it can possibly merit. It is due a reckoning. Mind you, I’ve been saying this for a few years and been proved wrong every time. (Guardian 27/5/2003 quoted in Bell 2008: 917)

34Here, for Bell, "There is no implied consequence in P that Q cancels and so the concessive marker nevertheless is pragmatically unacceptable here." Now, while I would agree that it is true that nevertheless cannot authentically replace mind you, in (10), this, I would argue, tells us more about nevertheless than about mind you. The marker nevertheless is notably inappropriate in rectificative-argumentative contexts of the mind you type. Take the following example of a « p though » rectificative-argumentative concessive:

(11) The demands, in a sense, were ridiculous for Television as it was in that time. But we did it though I wouldn't want to do it again. [F9Y]

35Here p « we did it » once does not necessarily imply « we would do it again » and yet this is what the second sequence counters. We could felicitously paraphrase (11) with an adverbial though (11a), or with mind you (11b). A paraphrase with nevertheless (11c) appears far less convincing, however:

(11a) we did it I wouldn’t want to do it again, though.

(11b) we did it mind you, I wouldn’t want to do it again.

(11c) ?? we did it nevertheless I wouldn’t want to do it again.

36And so, contrary to the hypothesis underpinning Bell's affirmations, nevertheless substitution is an inappropriate test for concessiveness, since nevertheless is indicative only of certain subtypes of concessive relations.

37Going back to Bell’s example (10), there is – in my opinion – a clear concessive movement here, of the rectificative-argumentative type. The initial pessimistic predictions might lead us to believe that the end of football’s privileged status is near. The subsequent qualification I’ve been saying this for a few years and have been proved wrong every time counters this inference.

38The point, as researchers (cf. De Vogüé 1987, Morel 1996, Ranger 1998), have noted before, is that there are a number of different types of concessive relation, depending notably upon the type of inferential relationship between the two clauses (standard or argumentative) and upon the order in which they occur, since postposed concessives may be interpreted as operating a retrospective adjustment.

2.2 Final « mind you »

39In spontaneous spoken English the corpus results show that mind you is extremely unusual in final position.

(2) A : Star Trek, it takes one million dollars to film just erm to make just one episode (pause) of Star Trek.

B : I think it's a great programme mind you. [KE0]

40We can represent this as « p. q mind you ». It is interesting to note that this configuration appears to be possible even involving two different speakers for p and q. In (2) speaker A states the considerable cost of making one episode of Star Trek. One million dollars for « just one episode » might be considered excessive and so lead us to infer that the speaker disapproves of Star Trek. This inference is countered by Speaker B who, in doing so, appears implicitly to endorse Speaker A’s initial statement p. In this way the two speakers present a united front, so to speak, to other participants (this extract is from a recording involving several different speakers).

41The movement I sketched above for initial mind you still appears to hold good for final mind you. Final mind you however operates a two-fold retroactive modalisation.

42In a statement of the general form « p. q mind you »:

  • mind you retroactively qualifies q

  • which, in turn, retroactively qualifies p, in restricting potential inferences p might give rise to.

43It would ideally be advisable to study prosodic indications in this configuration. My suspicion is that in a sequence of the form « q mind you » the role of q in retroactively qualifying p is signaled prosodically before the utterance of mind you. As a general rule, and in keeping with the previous observation, I would suggest that final mind you is pronounced on a prosodically weak falling tone.

  • 10 The hypothesis concerning the respective positional constraints of mind and mind you would of cours (...)

44These remarks would also help to explain the fact that mind you – with an explicit appeal to the co-speaker – is more prevalent in initial position whereas in final position mind often appears alone. The – admittedly unreliable – searches for the sentence-final strings « , mind. » and « , mind you. », described earlier, return frequencies of 3.65 for parenthetical mind in final position and only 0.69 for final mind you.10

2.3 Interactive function

45In addition to the argumentative functions of mind you, Bell (2008) considers that mind you also operates interactively, encouraging « warmth » between speakers:

M[ind] Y[ou] often signals the speaker’s inner commentary on his or her own discourse making. By laying bare those inner workings, in other words turning private speech into public speech, a degree of intimacy and sympathy is fostered between hearer and speaker. (918-919)

46I would avoid couching things in quite the same terms as Bell, but the point is that, in using a marker which signals a speaker readjusting meaning on the fly, placing himself in the position of his or her co-speaker, and rectifying accordingly, there is undoubtedly an attempt to reproduce, even in written texts, something of the unscripted nature of spontaneous spoken material. Whether this involves speaking "warmly" – or "heatedly" – depends closely on the context (including intonation).

3. The origins of the discourse marker « mind you »

47Both Brinton (2008) and Bell (2008) present hypotheses concerning the possible origins of mind you. Let us look at what each has to say.

48Bell, to begin with, opposes the discursive use we have so far studied with a use of final mind you (or mind) as an attention marker, as in the following examples:

(13) Most of our clients are individuals who hold numbered accounts with the bank. You might see their names penciled somewhere inside their file. Penciled, mind you. Erasable. They are to remain officially anonymous. (Numbered Account – Christopher Reich quoted in Bell 2008: 15)

(14) "Now, have one of mam's Welsh cakes, beautiful they are, mind." [CKD]

(15) In correct rural circles, having your lawn turfed is regarded in the same light as wearing made-up bow ties. To do the job properly, sow seed. Not just any seed, mind. [ABS]

49This attention marking use, argues Bell, is the original one, from which the discursive use we have studied has developed:

[] through a process of subjectification, by which ideational meanings take on subjective, attitudinal meanings over time (Traugott, 1999) [] Originally the imperative form of M[ind] Y[ou] summons the hearer’s attention to a particular piece of information [] In time, M[ind] Y[ou] develops into a signaling device which shifts the focus of the discourse away from the ideational content of the previous discourse segment onto the process of discourse construction by making overt the speaker’s own meaning making processes and his or her shifting commitment to previous arguments. (2008: 916)

50And so, for Bell, from an original movement where mind you elaborates upon or exemplifies some term in the previous proposition, there developed a concessive movement where mind you counters some inference possible from the previous proposition.

51For Brinton (2008) mind you has developed from an original matrix clause via a process of reanalysis:

[] imperative matrix constructions [] involve loss of the subordinating conjunction and subsequent reversal in the syntactic hierarchy, in which the original matrix imperative (mind, let’s, let alone) is reanalyzed as a parenthetical disjunct and the original subordinate clause (usually an indirect imperative or interrogative) is reanalyzed as a matrix clause. []

[mind] [(that) you be not late] > [mind you] [be not late] (2008: 43)

52The two explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive: Bell does not really address the question of the syntactic development of mind you, whether as an attention marker or as a concessive discourse marker. Brinton offers a syntactic hypothesis but does not consider how plausible this is semantically.

53Neither hypothesis appears fully satisfactory, however. Brinton’s suggestion that mind you developed from the reanalysis of an indirect imperative might appear attractive, syntactically, but it is then surprising to note that, in present-day English, mind you does not appear to accept the imperative mood very comfortably but rather functions almost exclusively with clauses in the assertive. Bell’s suggestion that the discourse marker mind you originates from the attention marker is more appealing, but the principle whereby « attention » leads to retrospective readjustment remains unclear and I would not like to make a case for a special « attention marker » use of mind you, in fact.

  • 11 The fact that one does not find many attested examples of this in historical corpora may owe more t (...)

54I consider, like Bell, that mind you is indeed an imperative – not a reanalysed imperative, but an inverted imperative, in which you is the postposed subject – and that its discourse meaning may in fact be related to other uses of the verb mind. It is to this hypothesis that we move next.11

3.1 Mind the step!

  • 12 This non-standard use may be illustrated by the following BNC example : "They were great fiddlers o (...)

55As we have seen, the verb mind has a somewhat bemusing array of different uses – the OED lists twelve – which appear to defy any attempt at describing a hypothetical operational configuration common to all. It would require a lot more time to go into a full consideration of mind, but let us posit, nonetheless, the following characterisation which I will take to hold for all common uses of mind with the possible exception of the non-standard use of mind to mean remember.12

  • 13 « Ai-je aimé, ai-je haï? Il me souvient d'avoir ri et pleuré » Cf. Le trésor de la langue française (...)

56In the general configuration a mind b, I consider that a phenomenon b is imposed upon the attention of a subject a. The key point here is that b is imposed upon a. This is not entirely unsurprising. After all, it is a moot question whether we are the masters of our own thoughts or whether thoughts and objects impose themselves on our consciousness, a point reflected verbally by the Old English impersonal construction of think, by impersonal expressions such as it seems to me or indeed, in French, by the possibility of a now archaic impersonal construction with souvenir, il me souvient13 It is this imposition of b on the attention of a which in intersubjective contexts may produce negative connotations, and it is this same imposition which helps to explain the otherwise strange fact about mind that it is, in the vast majority of cases, found in non-assertive contexts.

57Now /ATTENTION/ or /CONSCIOUSNESS/ refer to states in time. This enables us to represent the attention or consciousness of a in terms of an oriented path, since existence here implies a localisation on the class of instants. The phenomenon b represents a potential obstacle or impediment along this projected path, an object of hindrance in the passage from the start point to the end point.

58This is the schema we find – suitably parametered – in a great many occurrences of mind. When the path is simple a spatio-temporal trajectory, then we obtain utterances like the following:

(16) Mind the step up, ladies. [ACE]

59The phenomenon b is the step, an obstacle on a path otherwise followed without hindrance by a, ladies.

(17) Girls of seven or eight could mind the baby, one of the most frequent excuses that parents offered to the school attendance officers for the absence of girl children. [GUW]

60Here the path is not spatial but temporal: the baby represents a phenomenon imposed upon the attention of the girls and taking up a portion of time which was, otherwise, theirs to dispose of. Let us note in passing the fact that corpus results for examples like this returned no clear assertives, but invariably contexts of injunction (16) or potential action (17).

61In imperatives, a subject imposes a course of action on another:

(18) Well, just you mind you behave yourself now. [ACV]

62In negative contexts such as (19) and (20), a denies that the phenomenon b is imposed on his or her consciousness, or in any event, a denies that the phenomenon b represents an obstacle to the path a would have taken without b.

(19) I thought, well I don't mind paying that price. [KB9]

(20) [] go ahead I don't, no I don't mind people smoking in here, it's fine by me. [JYN]

63The path in question is no longer a spatial trajectory as in (16), or a portion of time as in (17), but rather a subjectively anticipated course which is allowed to run as projected.

64This brings us to the case of mind you, where the path is neither spatio-temporal, nor subjective, but argumentative: a projected inferential movement which might take a from an initial value of p to an augmented value p+, in the way I explained earlier. The effect of mind you is to signal that the current proposition is an obstacle b which the speaker imposes on the co-speaker’s attention, preventing them from drawing any undesired or over hasty conclusions.

Conclusion

65We began by limiting the object of our study to the sequence mind you, which, as we saw, is an essentially spoken phenomenon, placed generally in initial position relative to the clause it qualifies.

66We have shown how mind you functions as a discourse marker, in retroactively adjusting the inferences p+ a cospeaker might potentially draw for the utterance of a proposition p. In this respect it is an argumentative and rectificative concessive marker and so links closely to the overarching theme of a posteriori modalisation developed in the current studies.

67We have suggested that the discourse use of mind you derives from an earlier inverted imperative use. This, in turn, has enabled us to link the discourse function of mind you with other uses of mind as a 'lexical verb', by proposing a general schematic form for mind as the imposition of a phenomenon b on the attention of a subject a. Contextual parameters then enable us to derive various local values for mind from this abstract schema.

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Bibliography

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Bell, David M. "Mind You." Journal of Pragmatics 41 (2008): 915–920.

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Notes

1 Unless otherwise indicated, all examples are taken from the British National Corpus material, accessed at http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/. The precise text is indicated by a bracketed reference after the example.

2 Some authors might prefer to speak of pragmaticalisation, arguing that discourse markers do not form a unified grammatical category, and so their development cannot be viewed strictly as grammaticalisation. In the current paper, I will nonetheless use the term grammaticalisation, considering this to imply the development of new uses from existing ones. (Cf. Brinton 2008: 49-72 for a presentation of this debate.)

3 In placing « mind you », etc. between inverted commas I mean to indicate the exact expression used in our online BNC searches.

4 Bell, working on a different corpus, makes the same observation: « [] the major occurrence of M[ind] Y[ou] is in sentence initial position: of the 147 tokens of M[ind] Y[ou], 113 appeared in sentence-initial position » (2008: 918).

5 Parentheses are used conventionally in the BNC to anonymise proper names.

6 I made use of a similar model involving an inference leading from p to p+ in Ranger 2009.

7 Cf. Ranger 2012 and other articles in Deswelle-Filippi (ed.) 2012.

8 The terms used here are inspired from the model presented in Halliday (1985).

9 Note that, in accordance with our earlier observations, the speaker might equally have continued, Mind you, it was a very dry year, on the whole.

10 The hypothesis concerning the respective positional constraints of mind and mind you would of course require further research on authentic data.

11 The fact that one does not find many attested examples of this in historical corpora may owe more to the fact that historical corpora are not generally good sources of spontaneous spoken English. There are nonetheless cases, both in contemporary English – Don't you + V etc. – and in Middle English and other Germanic langages as noted with examples by Chung-hye Han, "In Middle English, subject-verb inversion is attested in both questions and imperative" (2001: 6). Cf. also Chung-hye Han (1998: 91).

12 This non-standard use may be illustrated by the following BNC example : "They were great fiddlers of long ago it's not so long ago that I mind there was five fiddlers in our kitchen in Dalvaine, just each coming with a just to have a night at the fiddle." [G62]. The vast majority of such uses in the BNC originates in the discourse of just two speakers.

13 « Ai-je aimé, ai-je haï? Il me souvient d'avoir ri et pleuré » Cf. Le trésor de la langue française informatisé http://atilf.atilf.fr/.

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References

Electronic reference

Graham Ranger, « Mind you: an enunciative description », Anglophonia [Online], 19 | 2015, Online since 15 July 2015, connection on 17 December 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/534 ; DOI : 10.4000/anglophonia.534

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About the author

Graham Ranger

Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse
ICTT EA 4277
graham.ranger@univ-avignon.fr

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Anglophonia – French Journal of English Linguistics est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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