Being pendantic

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Oct 4 00:02:32 UTC 2005

On Sep 28, 2005, at 6:24 AM, Dennis R. Preston wrote:

> This would appear to be similar (progressive rather than regressive)
> to the phenomenon David Stampe noted years ago in his paper "Why Some
> People Live in the Uninted States."
>> David Bowie wrote:
>> Google gives ~21,300 hits for "pendantic", many clearly in place of
>> "pedantic". Is it really possible to be properly pedantic while
>> writing
>> pendantic, i wonder?

oi, "regressive" vs. "progressive".  depending on which thing you
think of as acting and which as being acted upon, you can interpret
these terms in either of two exactly opposite ways.  when i was a
lad, i learned the usage in which the change "pendantic" (like the
voicing assimilation in modern "knives") would be labeled
"regressive", because the effect of the trigger extends back to
material preceding it, and the change "Uninted" (like the voicing
assimilation in "fifes") would be labeled "progressive", because the
effect of the trigger extends forward to material following it.  this
is how i used the terms in my dissertation, in fact.

but since then i've run across a fair number of people whose
metaphors work in the other direction, so to speak.  and i've had the
unpleasant experience of trying to teach this terminology to students
in introductory courses.

so i've moved to "anticipatory" vs. "perseveratory"/"perseverative":
in "pendantic" and "wives", some feature anticipates a feature to
come, and in "Uninted" and "fifes", some feature perseveres from one
location to a later location.  this terminology isn't foolproof, but
it seems to be less troublesome than the "-gressive" pair.


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