Conversate and basically

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jan 24 13:47:07 UTC 2001

>I'm so fond of the presupposition(s) behind the phrase "Is this a
>mistake or growing usage?" that I have printed it out on the spot.


>In the Ashcroft hearings Judge White used the word "conversate" for
>converse. I didn't think much about it -- a slip brought on by the
>pressures of lights, cameras and obstreperous Senators. But since then I
>have heard it twice more on C-SPAN call ins. (I don't have much of a
>life.) Is this a mistake or growing usage?
>I have also noticed an explosion of the use of the word "basically" as a
>filler  I have always used it to mean that I am stripping a concept of
>its nuances. Now it seems to be inserted in almost every proposition. Is
>this an increased usage, or am I just getting ypersensitive to it?

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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