Heard on The Judges

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 1 03:10:46 UTC 2008

Well, that's the last time that I'll try to be seriously scholarly on
this site! :-)


On 2/29/08, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>  Subject:      Re: Heard on The Judges
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Feb 29, 2008, at 9:13 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>  > Three other examples still don't make "be aloose" common, even taking
>  > into consideration that these are merely a few sample examples, so to
>  > speak.
> i got those three examples from the first three of many pages googled
>  up.  i took that to indicate that the usage was reasonably common.
>  i'm certainly in no position to accurately gauge its frequency in
>  vernacular english.
>  > But it could be that "be aloose" is novel to me because it's
>  > peculiar to the real South, east of the Mississippi.
> the report of "be aloose" as pittsburghese suggests that its
>  distribution is wider.  but this is something to be investigated.
>  > As for the other
>  > examples of the type, "come aloose," etc., my point was precisely that
>  > this is the "non-standard standard," as it were, use of "aloose."
> the idea here is that some uses of non-standard items are more
>  widespread than others, which is certainly true (and could be
>  illustrated with many other examples).  as a piece of terminology,
>  however, "non-standard standard" looks unlikely to win acceptance.
>  and it's somewhat misleading, since it suggests a crisp boundary,
>  while in fact we're probably looking at a gradient.  (this is the sort
>  of stuff that multivariate analysis, with different weightings of
>  factors, is good at describing.)
>  > Until my chat with my friend, followed by a search of dictionaries, I
>  > was fully persuaded that "V (NP) aloose" was probably common to the
>  > speech of every speaker of English on the face of the earth, as well
>  > as completely standard, cross-dialectally, in the United States. I was
>  > truly taken by complete surprise to discover that this was not the
>  > case.
> all of us are occasionally surprised in just this way ("doesn't
>  *everyone* say that?") -- and also surprised in the other direction
>  ("do people actually *say* that?").  it's an inevitable consequence of
>  the fact that nobody can have synoptic knowledge (or anything even
>  close to that kind of knowledge) of the varieties of their language
>  and the social distribution of individual variants.
>  > ... [arnold, I have irrefutable evidence that what you believe
> > to be the history of the name, Zwicky, is totally false.]
> how odd, since i have no belief in the matter.
>  arnold
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