a whole other question
gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Oct 10 00:54:33 UTC 2002
>At 5:18 PM -0700 10/9/02, Peter Richardson wrote:
>Isn't the "a whole nother" business an example of infixing, or has that
>notion been discarded by now? When I hear the "whole nother" I think
>immediately of a radio announcer commenting after something like a
>grand-slam HR: "Wal, it's a whole nother ball game, folks."
In dealing with odd syntactic constructions I first look to see if
syntactic blending might provide the answer. Originally there might
have been sentences of the type "That's another thing entirely" +
"That's a whole new thing (e.g., to be dealing with)" blending to
"That's a whole nother thing" and "That's a whole other thing."
Then by extension to baseball: "Wal it's a whole nother [also:
new] ball game, folks," (not just a grand-slam HR but one that ties
up the game in the late innings).
At 5:00 PM -0500 10/9/02, Yerkes, Susan wrote:
>I further assume that "A whole OTHER" is a variation on the above. But is it
>new? Who started it, and is there any explicable reason for its survival as
>a colloquial phrase?
There's no way to tell who might have first created a given syntactic blend.
As for the reason for the survival of "It's a whole (n)other..." the
answer must be that it expresses emphasis. And in language there's
an ever present need to find ways to express emphasis.
Professor of Foreign Languages
author of a monograph on syntactic blends in English
maintainer of an open mind in case someone on the list wishes to
reject the above interpretation
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