• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Them that verb phrase

    August 12th, 2012
    firefly, ling  [html]
    One grammatical quirk of the 'rural' dialect in Firefly is restrictive relative clauses "them that" as in:
    If that's what you think of this life, then you can't think much of them that choose it, can you? -- Kaylee
    Or "them as":
    Just get us some passengers. Them as can pay. -- Mal
    Small crew, them as feel the need to be free - Mal
    To see whether this was something English used to do or something Whedon made up, we can look at the N-Gram viewer:
    Them that are, Them as are:
    Them that can, Them as can:
    So "them that/as verb" appears to be something English used to do a lot more of.

    People pretty much don't use that construction now, unless they're mimicing Firefly, so how did we lose it? It looks to me like the main change was using "those" in place of "them":

    Them who are, Those who are:
    Them who can, Those who can:
    Them who do, Those who do:
    It appears "those who" has always been much more popular (but "those that" is catching up):

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    More on the Deutschlandtakt

    The Deutschlandtakt plans are out now. They cover investment through 2040, but even beforehand, there’s a plan for something like a national integrated timetable by 2030, with trains connecting the major cities every 30 minutes rather than hourly. But the…

    via Pedestrian Observations July 1, 2020

    How do cars fare in crash tests they're not specifically optimized for?

    Any time you have a benchmark that gets taken seriously, some people will start gaming the benchmark. Some famous examples in computing are the CPU benchmark specfp and video game benchmarks. With specfp, Sun managed to increase its score on 179.art (a su…

    via Posts on Dan Luu June 30, 2020

    Quick note on the name of this blog

    When I was 21 a friend introduced me to a volume of poems by the 14th-century Persian poet Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. I loved them, and eventually named this blog for one of my favorite ones. At some point I read more and found that Ladinsky’s …

    via The whole sky June 21, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact