- Website: http://ling.upenn.edu/~myl
Posts by Mark Liberman:
- As an "unusual spelling intended to represent dialectal or colloquial idiosyncrasies of speech", like roight for right or yahd for yard;
- As a "the use of non-standard spellings such as enuff for enough or wuz for was, to indicate that the speaker is uneducated".
Glenn's diagnosis is that these examples arise by way of an attempt to "sound erudite" by adding an extra preposition at the start of a relative clause, thus yielding a formal-sounding collocation like "in which" without any valid grammatical license. He sees this as a hypercorrection along the lines satirized by James Thurber in his "Ladies' and Gentlemen's Guide to Modern English Usage":
The number of people who use "whom" and "who" wrongly is appalling. The problem is a difficult one and it is complicated by the importance of tone, or taste. Take the common expression, "Whom are you, anyways?" That is of course, strictly speaking, correct – and yet how formal, how stilted! The usage to be preferred in ordinary speech and writing is "Who are you, anyways?" "Whom" should be used in the nominative case only when a note of dignity or austerity is desired.
As discussed in "Back to the future, redundant preposition department" (5/4/2007) and "A phenomenon in which I'm starting to believe in" (5/14/2007), I'm not entirely sure that the extra-preposition examples are all errors, hypercorrect or otherwise — but Glenn's rational catalogue, drawn mostly from assignments submitted by his students, is a valuable step.
A few days ago, (someone using the initials) C D C commented:
I get so annoyed when I hear sloppy English on the news.
Today I heard that one of the killers of that soldier in London was going to "appeal his sentence" instead of "appeal against his sentence"!
This was a free-floating peeve, completely unrelated to the content of the post ("The case of the persevering pedestrian", 4/7/2014) or to any of the previous comments — C D C apparently mis-interpreted our discussion of grammatical analysis as one of those articles meant to stir up "Angry linguistic mobs with torches" that the media, especially in Britain, features from time to time.
And as usual for peevers, C D C was not at all curious about the nature and history of the usage in question, and was therefore soon exposed as ignorant as well as intolerant.
Bina Shah, "Trying to Dam a Digital Sea", NYT 4/10/2014:
In September 2012, the Pakistani government expanded a ban on some YouTube contributors to a blockage of the whole video-sharing site, because the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims” had appeared on it. Eighteen months later, the ban remains, exposing a simmering struggle within Pakistan over the basic issue of freedom of expression and information that could be decided in court next month. [...]
Alongside the legal battle, an irreverent social media campaign called #KholoBC has also emerged. Engineered by the Pakistan for All movement, a collective of young Pakistani tech enthusiasts, it features a song released by the Pakistani musician Talal Qureshi, the rapper Adil Omar and the comedian Ali Gul Pir with lyrics too rude to print in this newspaper. (So is a translation of the campaign’s name.)
This squeamishness is familiar: See "The Gray Lady gets coy again", 4/21/2013, and the links therein.
Yesterday I got an email from airbnb.com, under the heading "We're updating our Terms of Service". It starts this way:
A.C. sends in this opening sentence from a story in his local (NZ) paper:
The former lover of a murdered British jeweler was in his bed when he and his new girlfriend arrived at his villa on the Costa del Sol.
Analytics is all the rage. Thus Keith Pompey, "Sixers aide immerses Brown in analytics", Philadelphia Inquirer 4/7/2014
Brett Brown is inherently curious.
The first-year 76ers coach was eager to learn as much as possible about the data that tell us where every player is during every possession of an NBA game. It's called analytics, and the Sixers are among the NBA franchises that are shifting toward basing major decisions on data and model-driven analysis.
"There's always the thing that they call unintended consequences," said Brown, who was introduced to analytics this season. "That's where my curiosity combined with, yeah, you know, there's a bit of defiance in me that I don't believe it. Prove it. And what about this? What about that?
"And if you can get through all those type of layers, I say, 'Wow.' And I feel like I've improved."
So much so that the 53-year-old is fond of Lance Pearson, who deals with advanced analytics and statistical scouting for the Sixers. Pearson was hired away from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., where he was an assistant coach and special assistant in analytics. He has a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Boston University. Pearson also has bachelor's degrees in computer science, mathematics and philosophy from Kentucky.
Calvin Men, "Police investigate Santa Cruz pedestrian's death", Santa Cruz Sentinel 4/4/2014:
A 49-year-old Santa Cruz man died late Thursday night while crossing Mission Street after being struck by a car.
G.A., who sent me the link, added "Pretty plucky of him to cross the street after he had been hit, I thought".
Under the heading Freedom 2014, "Whether it’s freedom from surveillance or freedom to be single, this spring the BBC is investigating what freedom means in the modern world". One of the BBC's own contributions to #Freedom2014 is a lovely addition to our No Word For X archive:
— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) April 1, 2014
I'll leave it to better-informed commenters to tell us how to express various concepts of freedom in Inuit — but my guess is that "not caught" is one of a number of perfectly reasonable Inuit phrases for various senses of English free. Certainly as hunter-gatherers in marginal terrain the Inuit must have experienced many kinds of freedom in their history — though perhaps they would echo what Matthew Arnold said about philistinism: "We have not the expression in English. Perhaps we have not the word because we have so much of the thing."
In "The future of singular they" (3/8/2013), I noted that some people assign the traditional English pronouns he, she, they (and it?) in non-traditional ways, depending on the preferences of the person referred to rather than on the traditional criteria of number, animacy, and primary sexual organs. And the number of conceptual categories involved is potentially much larger than four, as discussed in "58 Facebook genders" (2/18/2014).
Ann Leckie's 2013 novel Ancillary Justice depicts a situation in which the traditional relationships of language and gender are modified in an interestingly different way.
From Pat Robertson's 700 Club, 3/31/2014:
[A]re "buzz" and "biz" just isolated counterexamples to the generalization about syllable-final /z/, or is it generally false for accented syllables? Or do I just think I pronounce the /z/?
Yesterday brought new information about the Sunday comic strip I discussed in "Refreshing the S-word", 3/30/2014. We learned from Michael Cavna ("PEARLS BEFORE ‘NEIN’: Stephan Pastis finds irony in Post nixing strip about word choice…because of word choice", Washington Post 3/31/2014) why the Washington Post decided not to run that strip:
IN YESTERDAY’S “Pearls Before Swine,”, creator Stephan Pastis used his characters to engage in a playful dialogue over word choice. In the strip, Rat is talking to Goat about how certain words fall out of favor for more politically correct or gender-neutral terms. The culturally obsolete terms, Rat says, include “maid,” “stewardess,” “secretary” and “midget.”
Post editors were with Pastis … right up until “midget.” The M-word was enough to get the strip spiked. The print edition of Sunday’s comics ran an old “Pearls Before Swine” instead. (The “midget” strip did run, however, in the online version of The Post. Pastis said he had not heard of the strip being spiked by any other of his 600-plus newspaper clients.)
Post comics producer Donna Peremes flagged the strip and discussed it with Deputy Style Editor Eva Rodriguez. “We thought that ‘midget’ just wasn’t the same as ‘secretary.’ … Sort of apples and oranges,” Peremes explains to Comic Riffs. ” ‘Midget’ just carried a lot more of a charge — seemed more of a slur — than ‘stewardess’ or ‘secretary.’ ”
Linguists are generally scornful of "eye dialect", in both of the common meanings of that term:
The first kind of eye-dialect is seen as inexact ("you should use IPA") and the second kind is seen as snobbish. I'm generally more curious than censorious about both of these practices; but in any case, I recently saw a case of the first kind that struck me as especially interesting.