ToTN

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jul 2 21:32:23 UTC 2006


Thanks, John.

  And let's not forget to "incent," which fortunately isn't slang, so I can ignore it.

  JL

"Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Baker, John"
Subject: Re: ToTN
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Here's a conversate from the Miami Herald (via Westlaw),
5/12/1985: "But lately she been getting a lot of phone calls every
night, mostly from boys, and they be conversating all night long."

Many of the early uses are from Black English, but not all.
>From the Sunday Times (UK) (via Westlaw), 4/26/1987: "The food was
unmemorable and the conversating mainly about record and cocain deals,
but the dancing was hilarious." (The "cocain" typo is probably
Westlaw's, but of course I haven't checked.)

And Jon's point about non-words is well-taken. From a recent
legal opinion (and noted by the PSLRA Nugget, a legal blog,
http://pslranugget.blogspot.com/2006/06/whose-english.html):

"Although the Court appreciates creativity in pleadings, it must
draw the line at words such as "incentivize" that have failed to make it
into any recognized English language dictionary."

Dutton v. D&K Healthcare Resources, Case 4:04-cv-00147-SNL, slip op. at
3 n.2 (E.D. Mo. June 23, 2006),
https://ecf.moed.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_case_doc?147,65671,,,,,569,1.
A quick check shows that M-W's 11th Collegiate and American Heritage are
among the dictionaries that are not "recognized."


John Baker


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 6:29 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: ToTN

I imagine you've already checked out the 210,000 Googlits for
"conversate." Fortunately some of them are Italian.

For some reason (probably dearth of cites), it's not in HDAS. But
that isn't so bad because it isn't in OED either.

The earliest ex. I've seen (1992 on Usenet:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/msg/ade253c308a5c70c )
calls it a "non-word."

By the time somebody calls something a "non-word" in writing, it's
usually been around for a good number of years.

JL

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