Syntactic blend: "out of a sudden"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue May 20 00:51:36 UTC 2008

At 2:35 PM -0500 5/19/08, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
>One of my students has written to me about a possible blend, and I
>now share his message with
>ads-l.  He is correct in suspecting the example is a blend, and no,
>I had never come across this one before.  My thanks to him for
>sending it along.
>Gerald Cohen

A blend, very possibly, but why of these two particular inputs?  Why
not, for example, "out of the blue" rather than "out of nowhere"?  Or
even "out of left field"?  How could we tell which "out of" phrase
was the appropriate ingredient to go into the blender, or might we
want to say that element is somehow underspecified with respect to
the different possible sources?


>[message from student]:
>Hi Dr. Cohen,
>I found a phrase used in a message[1] on a mailing list that might be of
>interest to you. The writer used the phrase "Out of a sudden" to
>characterize unexpected software behavior, which to me appears to be a blend
>of "out of nowhere" and "all of a sudden".
>What do you think? Is this something you've seen before?
>David Mattli
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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