More non-distributive WHENEVER

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Mar 16 04:24:47 UTC 2008

At 11:55 PM -0400 3/15/08, Alice Faber wrote:
>ESPN just showed a sound-bite from a University of North Carolina
>basketball player, Tyler Hansborough, describing his thought process
>behind his last second game-winning shot in UNC's victory over Virginia
>Tech: "Whenever I caught [the ball], I knew I was going to shoot it."
>According to his ESPN player profile, he's from Poplar Bluff, MO.
>By a strange coincidence, the piece of paper I grabbed to scribble this
>example down on already had some similar instances of "whenever", from a
>more unlikely speaker.
>Last weekend, XM radio Home Ice (their hockey channel) had a lengthy
>interview with Ted Lindsay, an icon of Detroit hockey, originally from
>the Ottawa Valley. The sentence that caught my ear was: "I just wanted
>to be in the courtroom whenever Eagleson pleaded guilty." I subsequently
>noted "Something was unfair whenever Saskin took over." However, when
>the temporal clause was sentence initial, he had "when": "When Eagleson
>pleaded guilty..."
Unlike Tyler H.'s, which is an echt regional instance of episodic
"whenever", Lindsay's *could* be a standard if elliptical use.  The
sense is "I didn't know when Eagleson would plead out, but I wanted
to be in the courtroom whenever that happened." I can get the latter,
although I'm far from the relevant isogloss for the former ("Whenever
[= When, As soon as] I caught the ball, I knew...") or the other
instances we've discussed ("Whenever I was a kid", "Whenever I
swatted that fly", or the one contributed by pitcher Clay Buchholz
after his no-hitter for the Red Sox last year, "Yeah, whenever he
made that play I knew I had a shot [at the no-hitter].")


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list