From recent images sent on by Chris Ambidge, five that could have gone on AZBlogX (though they are not visually X-rated) but would also fit here.
Archive for the ‘Language change’ Category
Jon Lighter on ADS-L comments on my usage:
Arnold’s unremarkable syntax from the “Chicano” thread: ”the first OED2 cite, from 1947 Arizona, is somewhat disparaging in tone.”
In case some young folks don’t realize it, this journalistic use of a year-date as an adjective [well, prenominal modifier] is pretty “new” …
The usage is so natural to me that I thought nothing of it, nor did I recognize it as a relatively recent innovation or associate it with journalists.
A few days ago the ADS-Lers were discussing the initially puzzling expression gypsum weed for a plant mentioned in the Gene Autry faux-cowboy song “Back in the Saddle Again” (and elsewhere). Gypsum here was quickly established to be a folk etymology, a demi-eggorn in which in an unfamiliar part of an expression — here, the jimson of jimson weed — is replaced by something familiar, without necessarily making the whole expression more comprehensible (what does the plant have to do with the mineral gypsum?). As Charlie Doyle noted, DARE gives both gypsum weed and gypsyweed as folk-etymologizing variants of jimson weed.
But that’s just the beginning of the complexities. Along with jimson ~ gypsum, there’s lowly ~ lonely. And more.
Three Calvin and Hobbes strips (by Bill Watterson), from Melissa Carvell, all on language-related topics (this from the man who gave us “Verbing weirds language”):
But the truth is we actually picked him up hitchhiking. It was a complete and utter coincident.
with coincident for coincidence. This is far from an isolated example, so we have to conclude that this is a reanalysis, perhaps an eggcornish one based on the existing word coincident and encouraged by the possibility of final cluster simplification in English (in this case, the simplification of final [ts] to [t]).
In today’s print NYT Science Times, a piece by Douglas Quenqua entitled “They’re, Like, Way Ahead of the Linguistic Currrrve”, about young women as trendsetters in linguistic change. Featuring a sizable cast of experts, starting with Stanford’s Penny Eckert.
The two main points:
Girls and women in their teens and 20s deserve credit for pioneering vocal trends and popular slang, [linguists] say, adding that young women use these embellishments in much more sophisticated ways than people tend to realize.
And, at the end, two points. One, that a bit of linguistic stuff — vocal fry, uptalk, and the discourse particle like are the three examples the article focuses on — is just a resource, which can be used in many different ways by different groups of speakers (that is, there’s no intrinsic meaning to a resource — as I’ve taken to saying, it’s “just stuff” — but only meanings as expressed by particular groups of speakers and meanings as interpreted by others). And two, that the meanings for speakers and hearers can be seriously at variance:
“language changes very fast,” said Dr. Eckert of Stanford, and most people — particularly adults — who try to divine the meaning of new forms used by young women are “almost sure to get it wrong.”
“What may sound excessively ‘girly’ to me may sound smart, authoritative and strong to my students,” she said.
(The tiniest of postings, put up only because it tickles me.)
Over on ADS-L, Stephen Goranson has antedated the word gazebo from the OED’s 1752:
Unto the painful summit of this height
A gay Gazebo does our Steps invite.
From “An essay on the pleasures and advantages of female literature … and three Poetic Landscapes” by Wetenhall Wilkes (1741). (ADS-Lers are into antedating as a kind of sport.)
I was charmed by the alliterative gay gazebo (with, of course, an older, non-sexual, sense of gay, plus the great word gazebo). The poem continues, less excitingly:
From this, when favour’d with a Cloudless Day,
We fourteen Counties all around survey.
Th’ increasing prospect tires the wandring Eyes:
Hills peep o’er Hills, and mix with distant Skies.
Reported by Ellen Seebacher on Google+ today:
My thirteen-year-old, during a discussion of prescriptive vs. descriptive grammar and constructions on their way out in English:
“So ‘shall’ isn’t exactly packing its bags and walking out the door like ‘whom’, but it’s winding down the conversation and looking at the clock?”
He’s pretty much got it down. Shall and whom will probably be around for a long time, but only in very restricted contexts (“Shall we dance?”, “someone of whom I’ve heard a lot”). So they’ve packed their bags and are sitting in a little corner by the door.
(I was startled to re-read a paper of mine from 1968 a few days ago and was startled to see academese like “We shall show”, where I’d now write “I will show” or “I’ll show”.)