"You want I should"

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
mastered
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 12:19 am UTC
Location: Terra

"You want I should"

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:34 pm UTC

Have you heard this usage before? And if so, where? I'm trying to figure out if it's specific to some dialects, because although I don't recall having ever heard it, I've seen it in written dialogue and it looks both odd and familiar. Like perhaps it might have origins in more archaic speech or something.

Examples (which may sound wrong to people who do speak this way, since I don't actually know the usage):

"We're out of milk."
"You want I should go to the grocery store?"

"Your advice is useless."
"You want I should not try helping you, then?"

Something along those lines. Anyone? Linguists and laymen alike, does this ring any bells?
Things are only impossible until they aren't. - Cpt. Picard
Image

Aiwendil42
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Aiwendil42 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:30 am UTC

I've definitely heard this, but I'm having trouble recalling in what context and by whom. In my mind it seems to be associated with an older New York accent. It also sounds vaguely like a construction arising from the literal translation of a foreign idiom. As a wild guess, then, could it come from Yiddish?

User avatar
Iulus Cofield
WINNING
Posts: 2917
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:31 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:34 am UTC

I've heard out here on the West Coast, although very rarely. IIRC, I heard it used by people who were low on the socio-economic scale, if that means anything since I've only heard a couple people say it. As far I as I know, they may have recent New York ancestry.

User avatar
yeyui
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:45 pm UTC
Location: Kinston, NC, USA
Contact:

Re: "You want I should"

Postby yeyui » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

Of course I found other Yiddishisms, which were interesting even though they did not show up
very much. For example the much-used and -loved “should,” as in “they want we should go on the
march.” This is called the subjunctive case in Latin and Spanish, where it has a different conjugation. In
Yiddish, it is represented by “should.”
From http://www.citycongregation.org/images/ ... roject.pdf

RabbitWho
Posts: 284
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 10:16 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: "You want I should"

Postby RabbitWho » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:00 pm UTC

I say this when I'm pretending to be an Italian chef.
"Hey Tony, you want I should heat up the apple pie?"

That doesn't help you, does it?

User avatar
Qaanol
The Cheshirest Catamount
Posts: 3069
Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 11:55 pm UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Qaanol » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:18 pm UTC

What’s interesting to me is that changing the wording slightly, by replacing “want” with “think”, makes it into a construction that is perfectly natural:

“We’re out of milk.”
“You think I should go to the store?”

“Your advice is useless.”
“You think I should not try helping you, then?”

“They think we should go on the march.”

“Hey Tony, you think I should heat up the apple pie?”

Other suitable replacement verbs include “feel” and “believe”.
Last edited by Qaanol on Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:21 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
wee free kings

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Lazar » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:20 pm UTC

My impression is that it sounds like a stereotypical Yiddishism.
Exit the vampires' castle.

sje46
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:41 am UTC
Location: New Hampshire

Re: "You want I should"

Postby sje46 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:46 pm UTC

I think I've heard Zoidberg say this a few times.
General_Norris: Taking pride in your nation is taking pride in the division of humanity.
Pirate.Bondage: Let's get married. Right now.

User avatar
Magnanimous
Madmanananimous
Posts: 3491
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:11 pm UTC
Location: Land of Hipsters and Rain (LOHAR)

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Magnanimous » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:28 am UTC

sje46 wrote:I think I've heard Zoidberg say this a few times.
Sure, you can vote for Shkinadel -- if you want there should be a recession!

User avatar
Iulus Cofield
WINNING
Posts: 2917
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:31 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:45 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:What’s interesting to me is that changing the wording slightly, by replacing “want” with “think”, makes it into a construction that is perfectly natural:

“We’re out of milk.”
“You think I should go to the store?”
...


This is a different phenomenon. In the examples you provided "that" is being dropped, which is a familiar aspect of English grammar.

Aiwendil42
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Aiwendil42 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:20 pm UTC

This is a different phenomenon. In the examples you provided "that" is being dropped, which is a familiar aspect of English grammar.


Yes, but it's interesting that 'think', 'believe', and even 'desire' and 'wish' can be used to introduce indirect statements (with or without 'that'), whereas the very similar verb 'want' cannot do so in standard English.

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:03 am UTC

When I hear "you want I should" I always think of La Cosa Nostra: "You want I should break his kneecaps, boss?"

nike
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:54 pm UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby nike » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:14 pm UTC

In the 1927 movie "The Jazz singer" they use it: "They want you should sing in the synagogue", in a New York/jewish community-based background.
The movie is not per se a silent film (it was the first movie to feature songs), but the dialogues are written. They use a couple of other things to stress that some of the characters have a "Yiddish" accent, such as them saying "ector" instead of "actor".
So yeah, I think this may be a stereotypical yiddishism.

Aiwendil42 wrote:
This is a different phenomenon. In the examples you provided "that" is being dropped, which is a familiar aspect of English grammar.


Yes, but it's interesting that 'think', 'believe', and even 'desire' and 'wish' can be used to introduce indirect statements (with or without 'that'), whereas the very similar verb 'want' cannot do so in standard English.


I'm not a native speaker of English, but "I desire/I wish you should go to the store" does not sound standard to me.
I wish someone should tell me if it's fully grammatical? (Now replace "should" by "would" and suddenly, it's fine!)

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26831
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: "You want I should"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

No, those aren't fully grammatical. I think the reason it works with "think" and "believe" is because you can think or believe pretty much any given proposition. But when you already have want/desire/wish/etc., then there's already a normative aspect, and the "should" becomes redundant in a way that native English speakers find ungrammatical.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Aiwendil42
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Aiwendil42 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

But when you already have want/desire/wish/etc., then there's already a normative aspect, and the "should" becomes redundant in a way that native English speakers find ungrammatical.


There may be something to this, but I'm not sure it's the complete explanation. There's some ambiguity to the word "should" in this context, I think - is it being used normatively or is it standing in for a subjunctive?

In "You think I should go to the store?" it certainly sounds normative. But in the (non-standard) "You want I should go to the store?" I would parse it as subjunctive. Note that while "I desire you should go to the store" sounds wrong, "I desire that you should go to the store" (where the modal verb clearly stands for a subjunctive) seems fine, if a little stiff. Contrast that with "I want you should go to the store" and "I want that you should go to the store" - in this case, it sounds wrong regardless of whether the subordinate clause is introduced by "that". Replacing "should" with "would doesn't help either. It seems that "want" is simply incapable of introducing a subordinate clause (though the corresponding construction with an infinitive is fine: "I want you to go to the store"). "Wish" seems to be more or less like "desire", except that with "wish", a subordinate clause with the modal "would" can be used (with or without "that"): "I wish you would go to the store", "I wish that you would go to the store"; but not "I desire you would go to the store".

Now I'm really confused.

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

I wish you should go to the store is grammatical, but it sounds weird because no one ever uses it because it expresses a meaning that no one ever wants to express. If I say 'I wish you should go to the store', I'm basically saying that while it may not be true that you should go to the store, I wish that it were. I want you should go to the store, on the other hand, is nonsense. You can't want a declarative content clause, but you can wish one.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26831
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: "You want I should"

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:56 am UTC

Anubis wrote:I want you should go to the store, on the other hand, is nonsense.
Not nonsense, just ungrammatical in standard English.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:03 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Anubis wrote:I want you should go to the store, on the other hand, is nonsense.
Not nonsense, just ungrammatical in standard English.


I think it's fair to say that it literally has no meaning in standard English, which is the very definition of nonsense. It's like saying "I want the sky is blue" or "I want the Revolutionary War happened in the 18th century."

User avatar
Magnanimous
Madmanananimous
Posts: 3491
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:11 pm UTC
Location: Land of Hipsters and Rain (LOHAR)

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Magnanimous » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:45 am UTC

The grammar doesn't parse, but the semantics still make sense in a roundabout sort of way. "I want" means the speaker wishes for "you should go to the store" to be true.

It's almost like it's meant to be a parody of people who are learning English as a second language and haven't mastered the grammar yet.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26831
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: "You want I should"

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:40 am UTC

Anubis wrote:I think it's fair to say that it literally has no meaning in standard English, which is the very definition of nonsense.
No, I don't think that's the definition of nonsense at all. For example, when pretty much everyone who hears something understands what it means, I'm pretty sure that can't be nonsense.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Lazar » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:25 am UTC

Magnanimous wrote:The grammar doesn't parse, but the semantics still make sense in a roundabout sort of way. "I want" means the speaker wishes for "you should go to the store" to be true.

That's not how it works though - to the extent that a speaker of non-standard English is saying "you want I should", they mean "you want me to". (The alternative is just a pedantic reinterpretation which, as has been indicated, no one would ever have call to use.) I'm not sure how something like this is expressed in Yiddish, but in Spanish, for example, you would say "quieres que [subjunctive]", which is almost directly equivalent to "you want I should".

And I agree with gmalivuk that it's not nonsensical at all, it's just non-standard. In this respect it's similar to negative concord - that is, the double (or triple, etc) negative - pedants claim that it makes a positive (and is thus nonsensical), when in reality it's understood perfectly fine.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Anubis wrote:I think it's fair to say that it literally has no meaning in standard English, which is the very definition of nonsense.
No, I don't think that's the definition of nonsense at all. For example, when pretty much everyone who hears something understands what it means, I'm pretty sure that can't be nonsense.


Well, that is the definition of nonsense, and it definitely is nonsense in standard English. However, you're correct that most people do not parse sentences based strictly on the rules of standard English, so they would be able to assign it a meaning and in that context it is not nonsense. So long as we're speaking in the context of what is acceptable in standard English, however, I still think it is fair to call it nonsense.

Either way, this is a silly argument and I'm quitting now.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 3486
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:21 am UTC

Anubis wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Anubis wrote:I think it's fair to say that it literally has no meaning in standard English, which is the very definition of nonsense.
No, I don't think that's the definition of nonsense at all. For example, when pretty much everyone who hears something understands what it means, I'm pretty sure that can't be nonsense.


Well, that is the definition of nonsense, and it definitely is nonsense in standard English. However, you're correct that most people do not parse sentences based strictly on the rules of standard English, so they would be able to assign it a meaning and in that context it is not nonsense. So long as we're speaking in the context of what is acceptable in standard English, however, I still think it is fair to call it nonsense.


Webster's relevant definition of nonsense is "words or language having no meaning or conveying no intelligible ideas." Since these words have meaning and convey intelligible ideas, they can't be nonsense. Semantically incorrect statements might be nonsensical to a machine, but they are not always to a person.

It also bothers me that you insist you know the definition of nonsense.

Either way, this is a silly argument and I'm quitting now.


Too late.

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:41 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Either way, this is a silly argument and I'm quitting now.


Too late.


Not really. You're the one who's too late, because I already quit.

Also, if you read carefully you'll note that you didn't actually contradict anything I said.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 3486
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:27 am UTC

Anubis wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Either way, this is a silly argument and I'm quitting now.


Too late.


Not really. You're the one who's too late, because I already quit.


I don't really care if you are still arguing, though.

Also, if you read carefully you'll note that you didn't actually contradict anything I said.


If you read more carefully you will find that I contradict everything you said. Specifically, that that is not the definition of nonsense and it in fact is not nonsense at all.

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:42 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Anubis wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Either way, this is a silly argument and I'm quitting now.


Too late.


Not really. You're the one who's too late, because I already quit.


I don't really care if you are still arguing, though.


I don't care if you care, though.

Also, if you read carefully you'll note that you didn't actually contradict anything I said.


If you read more carefully you will find that I contradict everything you said. Specifically, that that is not the definition of nonsense and it in fact is not nonsense at all.


If you read even more carefully you will find that the definition of nonsense that you quoted is the one I used, and that all you really did was fail to note the distinction I made between "nonsense according the rules of standard English" and "nonsense according to the rules that most people actually use to parse English".

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26831
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: "You want I should"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:26 pm UTC

Sorry, I guess all of the rest of us were just under the impression that the rules of standard English only tell us what's grammatical and ungrammatical, rather than dictating what is allowed to make sense or not.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Sorry, I guess all of the rest of us were just under the impression that the rules of standard English only tell us what's grammatical and ungrammatical, rather than dictating what is allowed to make sense or not.


The rules of standard English tell us how to parse things written or spoken in English, and how to write or say things so that they can be parsed by others. If you can't parse something, it doesn't make sense. Again, no one actually parses things strictly according to the rules of standard English, unless they're just doing it to be pedantic.

User avatar
Iulus Cofield
WINNING
Posts: 2917
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:31 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

How tiresome these colorless green bickerings of which up for do to what in time is am tired.

cntrational
This guy's name is a utter lie.
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:36 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby cntrational » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

The thing is, it's perfectly natural and parsable to the many people who speak like this. That's what dialects are.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 3486
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:34 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:How tiresome these colorless green bickerings of which up for do to what in time is am tired.

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously?

User avatar
krucifi
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:12 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby krucifi » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:29 pm UTC

in the movie Snatch
at the beginning one man (who is frankie four fingers wearing a full hasidic jewish outfit)
walks through a metal detector. the security runs the handheld detector over him getting a signal at his testicular region
asking him what is this... his response is



Frankie Four-Fingers wrote:"what you want i should do? drop my pants?"
Yes, my name is the negative frequency of radioactive decay, of the initial speed of light's radius.
And on the eighth day God created Irony.
But on the ninth day Satan was all like, "Nuh uh!"
And ironically made Alanis Morrisette his minion.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: "You want I should"

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:55 pm UTC

Anubis wrote:The rules of standard English tell us how to parse things written or spoken in English
Anubis wrote:no one actually parses things strictly according to the rules of standard English

It seems to me, then, that you're saying in the second quote that the rules of standard English don't tell us how to parse things written or spoken in English.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
Anubis
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:59 am UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Anubis » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:02 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Anubis wrote:The rules of standard English tell us how to parse things written or spoken in English
Anubis wrote:no one actually parses things strictly according to the rules of standard English

It seems to me, then, that you're saying in the second quote that the rules of standard English don't tell us how to parse things written or spoken in English.


"X tells us to do Y" does not mean the same thing as "We always do Y."

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 3486
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: "You want I should"

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:04 am UTC

I'm still kind of wondering what determines "the rules of standard English" if not usage.

redbeard909
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:43 pm UTC

Re: "You want I should"

Postby redbeard909 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:13 pm UTC

I realize this is an old thread, but I must point out that while you quibble about trivialities, you miss the seminal use of the phrase.

"You want I should wash the dead bugs off your windshield?" - Elwood Blues (1980)


Return to “Language/Linguistics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests