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Piggy with a house

For my own edification in the ways of foreign childrens' songs, I went to the local library baby and toddler singalong today. Fifty percent of the songs were unfamiliar to me. For another quarter, I knew the words, but not the tunes to which they were being sung.

And then there were moments like this, when what is probably - I hypothesize - a usual British Englishism I've been hearing for years stood out like a metaphorical sore thumb in what was an otherwise familiar sequence.

Where did the piggy stay?

This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy stayed at home.



Sep. 27th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Wait! Which is which? My instinct was "stayed home", but my instincts tend to skew half British and half American thanks to my dad's British education, so I never know where a particular instinct is coming from.
Sep. 27th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
I was raised in the US with "stayed home". Today at the library in the UK, it was "stayed at home".
Sep. 30th, 2012 08:38 am (UTC)
I wouldn't expect the difference to be regional - it's just a case of slowly-disappearing datives. Somewhere in that singer's song-handing-down past, someone's thought "hang on, that needs a preposition!"
Sep. 27th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
And I meant to also specify, I was assuming that the explanation for the difference was British English vs. American English in my experience but thought a poll might be the easiest way to check to be sure if that was the explanation; also, what responses from people from Canada, NZ, Australia etc. might be.
Sep. 27th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
Heh, then I should probably stay out of it, having been raised in the suburban US by parents with Canadian and British backgrounds respectively. :D

Also, I love how people on both sides of this debate are arguing that the other possibility doesn't scan correctly.
Sep. 27th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
This is why I have long since given up asking people where their language use may be from - we're mostly too complicated for that! I browse for patterns based on what I happen to know/remember/notice about people, and thus might well miss what are actually relevant factors sometimes.

I kind of love that we're discussing scansion without anyone having gone so far as to write out the entirety of the version they're using. I only noticed the one difference at the library, but that doesn't mean everyone else here would say the rest of the piece as I learned to.
Sep. 28th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
For an 'at' to scan in that line, what in the world do the other lines sound like?

Sep. 28th, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
I think that they probably sound pretty much the same, but the lines you (that is, one, not you personally) compare are probably different. Theory:

AABB pattern
2x line with the rhythm of 'This little piggy went to' + 1 or 2 syllables
2x line with the rhythm of 'This little piggy had' + 1 or 2 syllables

ABAB pattern, where A is a longer line and B is a line of 7 syllables with a rhyme or half-rhyme.

Just a thought, but it might explain why both sides are convinced theirs scans better - they're consciously or unconsciously expecting that line to match a different pattern. Or of course, it could just be a case of the version you're used to sounding better.