How great would that be?

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Hilary is finished with contrastive focus reduplication, and is now exploring the communicative potential of re-framing rhetorical questions as real ones:

Or maybe it's just using rhetorical questions ironically, which, ironically, is the same thing at least in this case.

Oh, and it turns out that Jon might be a friend friend after all — due to a conversational miscalculation on the part of Hilary's dad:


  1. Pflaumbaum said,

    July 27, 2011 @ 3:42 am

    Three strips, three [X and I] co-ordinations. From an eleven-year-old, even if a 2D one. The prescriptively-approved form does seem to be winning. But maybe it's always seemed that way…

  2. JJ said,

    July 27, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

    The question is, would she say: "I think it's different with Jon and I," or "…with Jon and me"?

  3. Pete said,

    August 3, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    That's quite common in the UK and has been for years. If you google "How funny is that?" or "How shit is that?" you'll get hundreds of thousands of hits. I've always had the impression it's a Yorkshire expression but can't back this up.

    [(myl) I'm not sure what you mean here. Rhetorical questions of the form "How funny is that?" are common in pretty much all varieties of English, as far as I know. They're "rhetorical" questions because the speakers are not uncertain about the answer, nor are they testing their hearers' knowledge or skills — the assumed answer is a positive one, and the normal force is just a somewhat more participatory version of the corresponding assertion, e.g. something like "That's very funny".

    What's different in the strip reproduced above is that Hilary actually wants her listeners to ask themselves the question and think about the answer, which she assumes to have a negative valence, i.e. "That wouldn't be great at all, because Hilary and Jon want to be alone".

    Are you suggesting that examples of this sort are especially characteristic of Yorkshire? Color me skeptical. I think you've misunderstood the point of the post — sorry for not being clear enough.]

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