Peter McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Thu Aug 12 16:32:22 UTC 1999

O.k., this isn't about dialects, but it is about American speech, and I
hope some of you will indulge me by serving as linguistic guinea pigs.

When, for example, an adjunct is hired to reduce the teaching load of a
regular faculty member so that said regular can perform some other
task, does your gut feeling as native speakers of American English
prompt you to call the hours in question "released time" or "release
time," or to accept both equally?  The same goes for space in an
existing building when a department moves to a new building: Is it
"released space," "release space" or either one?

When I first encountered "release time" in writing, my first impulse
was to edit it to "released time," but when I thought about it, I
couldn't see why they weren't both equally valid, even if different,
grammatical approaches to the same thing.

(Obviously one factor at work is that most speakers would probably
pronounce both the same--especially in the case of "-time"--and might
analyze the underlying form either way for the purpose of representing
it in writing.)

Apart from the issue of Sprachgefuehl, does anyone have a sense of one
or the other gaining the ascendency in written usage at present?  It
seems to me that "release time" is probably gaining ground while my own
"released time" is becoming somewhat old fashioned.  (You know you're
getting old when....")

Thanks for any reactions.

Peter Mc.

Peter A. McGraw
Linfield College
McMinnville, Oregon
pmcgraw at

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