Sat Jun 17 16:42:00 UTC 2006

        Geoff Pullum writes on Language Log,, that at
least one English-speaking writer, a blogger at, has used the
adverb "funly," clearly the next step past the comparative adjectives
"funner" and "funnest."  The blogger was referring to a remark by Justin
Timberlake about sex:  "I enjoy it, and I praise it, and I celebrate it
openly and funly - if that's a word."  Geoff writes:

        <<If, indeed. That is the question. But the thing is, while
Justin Timberlake wondered whether his neologism (the first use?) was a
word, the blogger did not. He quoted the word, and used it in the title
of his post ("Celebrate it funly"), without apparently having any
serious doubts. This looks like the first open acceptance of the word by
a native speaker who felt comfortable with it.>>

        I'm not so sure that the blogger's example in a post title was
really intended to suggest that he had no serious doubts about "funly,"
but we can expect that there were serious uses before the blogger's
4/4/2003 post, and so there are.  From the Miami Herald on 9/29/1986
(via Westlaw), in an article about the use of computers in schools:

        <<"You can do it more funly on the computer," said Israel Velez,
11, one of Magarino's students. "Then you can take out your mistakes.">>

        As with "funner" and "funnest," we see that this early user is a
child.  But is he also a native speaker of English?  He lives (well,
lived) in Miami and has a Hispanic surname, so there is reason to be in
doubt.  Here's an example from Google Groups, 9/4/1992, apparently
written by an English-speaking adult:

        <<Rather than tell these guys to just get lost, I'd like to
them in the socially acceptable ways of group riding.  Surely there
is some way that squids, Big Dods, and little dods can all group
ride safely, yet funly (-;  together.>>

        That example, though, had an emoticon, which may indicate the
writer's intentional use of a neologism.  This Google Groups example
from 11/13/1994, referring to the lyrics of the band Spin Doctors, is

        <<Good points DE - a thing I read oncve that troubled me was an
article about
the SD's once where John Popper was part of the interview, and he was
about the bands' friendly relations and how Chris was the greatest
and John has the harp as his thing that no one can touch.
Well, although the article was about Chris and his band, so it was
job to promote them - I would place John Popper above Chris Barron as a
lyricist any day. Now SD songs are fun, and funly - and Chris writes
neat shit, but John is a poet. And I wondered why John didn't say he was
lyricist - why? humility. A trait seldom found in the rock and roll

John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

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