The syntax of liketa

A case of restructuring in Appalachian English


In this article I provide a syntactic analysis for the non-standard liketa and its uncontracted counterpart liked to in Appalachian English. I argue that both forms are verbal and are related via restructuring, following similar analyses of wanna contraction. However, liketa is different from wanna in that it places unique aspectual restrictions on its complements. Specifically, it requires that the verb appearing immediately to the right be marked with past participle morphology for felicitous interpretation. A comparison of liketa and liked to reveals that both are verbal and liketa has many hallmark properties of restructuring predicates. In fact, it shares many properties with wanna contraction, an example of restructuring in English. I analyze liketa in the spirit of Wurmbrand (2001) who provides a mono-clausal approach to restructuring. I consider dialect variation among grammars which allow slightly different syntactic constraints on the usage of liketa. Finally, I sketch out an alternative bi-clausal restructuring account in order to compare the consequences of two prominent theories of restructuring verbs.


Appalachian English Syntax Morphosyntax Variation Restructuring 



I would like to thank my PhD advisor Alan Munn and the rest of my PhD committee for all of their work with me on this project. I also have to thank all of my AppE and non-AppE speaking friends, family, and informants for their input on this topic over many years. I want to thank members of the audiences of SECOL 79, LSA 2013, Christina Tortora and students in her 2013 LING 84100 class at the CUNY Gradate Center, and NYU’s Syntax Brown Bag. Thank you for all of your comments. A portion of this work was developed while I was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the City University of New York and The College of Staten Island. The requisite language follows: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (NSF Award #BCS-1152148).

Last and not least, I have to thank Mike Putnam for pointing out, many years ago, that I use liketa.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Louisiana State UniversityLouisianaUSA

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