"Like" abuse redivivus/ to "be all"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Apr 14 04:37:12 UTC 2008

On Apr 13, 2008, at 5:55 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> Phrases of the type, "how big of a dog," as well as "this/that big of
> a dog," are hardly new. It's common in every variety of BE that I've
> ever heard, since I was a child in Texas.

i didn't fuckin claim it was new.  i have, in fact, published about
some of its history, as well as its analysis.  see the discussion in
my 1995 paper:


i have mentioned the phenomenon, and my research, and the literature
on it (which goes back at least 25 years) many times on ADS-L over the
years.  and on Language Log.  (i have more postings in preparation --
mostly in response to the Safire piece, which is inaccurate in any
number of ways).

but i begin to despair of talking about phenomena here.  apparently
all history disappears once the week is over, so that people start a
discussion of a phenomenon as if no one had ever talked about it
before (here or anywhere), so i too am apparently supposed to start
again from zero and say everything i said before all over again.  i'm
not sure i can function as a scholar and expositor in such an


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