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In the book Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 2, page 14, last paragrapgh appears 2 sentences like this, "They lets Dobby get on with it" and "Sometimes they reminds me to do extra punishments...". My questions is Why is the third-person rules used with REMIND and LET? thnx

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    It's just nonsense (bit like Harry Potter really!) – BillJ Apr 13 '18 at 15:34
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    It's just a part of his characterisation. Just like when you characterise non-native English speakers as speaking/writing like this. – aesking Apr 13 '18 at 15:35
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    @EdwinAshworth I disagree entirely. It's a well-known cockney idiom. We often discuss regional expressions on the site. – WS2 Apr 13 '18 at 22:59
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    @EdwinAshworth Let's see if Colin responds (he's more a Londoner than you or I). He describes it as "rustic" - I tend to think of it as cockney. (That's interesting in itself since he's a metropolitan, and I'm a yokel -in origin). But I'm sure I've heard Cockneys use that conjugation - whether for emphasis, or simply out of ignorance - "I hates it when that b***** Chelsea mob turn up here" is what I suggest you might hear at a home match at West Ham. – WS2 Apr 14 '18 at 7:47
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    @Colin Fine Can you settle this argument? You have described it as "rustic", I think it's "cockney", and Edwin, a Lancastrian, doesn't recognise it as regional at all. – WS2 Apr 14 '18 at 8:00
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Because that's how Dobby speaks! It's meant to be non-standard English, like his referring to himself in the third person. It's how house elves in general speak in the Potter universe, I believe. Kreacher also referred to himself in the third person, though, off the top of my head, I don't remember what he did with third-person plural verbs.

You'll find the same kind of thing in Tolkien's books with the character Gollum, who also refers to himself in the third person (indeed, for some reason, lack of a grasp of pronouns is common across literature and the media for creatures of limited intelligence or limited grasp of the language, or for robots) and also refers to hobbits as "hobbitses". Wikipedia covers Gollum's speech.

  • Good answer. I would add that these particular forms of speech are associated with marginal and despised parts of the English-speaking world (for example, rustics). Contrast the non-standard grammar of Yoda (in Star Wars): his speech patterns are not familiar from any existing English variety, and so do not carry those social connotations. – Colin Fine Apr 13 '18 at 16:29

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