"stifled" 'stilted' and the reverse

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat May 24 16:35:44 UTC 2008

Bruce Webster pointed me to a site where the verbing "on-boad" or
"onboard" was being discussed.  part-way in, a subthread about case
use for "than"+pronoun developed (grammar flames turn up everywhere!),
in which "stifled" 'stilted' appears:

That being said, many people have begun seeing "than" as a preposition
that takes the objective case rather than as a subordinating
conjunction, thus permitting such constructions as "...than me" even
when the subjective case would be formally appropriate. (In fact, such
constructions can be seen in writings that are centuries old, so this
is not a new phenomenon.) This is becoming so widespread in informal
speech and writing that use of the "proper" form can sound stifled.
   (comment by Robert Morris, 5/22/08, on http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2008/05/22/8530603.aspx

not in Brians or the ecdb (it's not at all clear to me how to classify
this usage, except that it's unlikely to be a typo), nor do we seem to
have mentioned it on ADS-L.  a few examples i googled up:

Option A does not sound grammatically incorrect, however, it does
sound stifled to me.
   (comment by GenJen54, 11/1/05, on
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=63887 )
   (discussion about:
A: All motor vehicles need to be inspected at/with a frequency of
every two years.
B: All motor vehicles need to be inspected at intervals of two years.
C: All motor vehicles need to be inspected every two years. )

No, affect [rather than effect]. "The win will surely affect the
team's standing in the league." Affect here is a verb which is simpler
and is more appropriate than the awkward "impact", which sounds
stifled. Many English professors that I have dealt with (I was an
honors English student in university) never liked the use of "impact"
as a verb. They always said, "Keep it simple!" Lol. :)
   (comment by mrshinyshoes, 5/18/08 on
http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/756130 )

When I’m writing papers, I adapt this “academic” tone—as if when its
paper time, I open up one of my cardboard boxes labeled “Term Papers”
and delve into its contents: pretentious tone, stifled style,
convoluted logic, awkward organization...

While I’ve been working on my book people tell me I need to read this
and that. For a while I picked up every book someone suggested to me.
Without fail, any book that’s described as adult fiction bores the
hell out of me. There’s a certain lack of creativity coupled along
with this incredibly stifled style that seems like I should be reading
the book to hold it up on the bus instead of enjoying it.

we *have* mentioned "stifled" here before, in a thread of 5-7 February
2007 that began with Charlie Doyle quoting:

   ". . . Bush's failed presidency has stilted all debate into a knee-
jerk response."

and asking: "Tilted"? "Stifled"?

Jim Landau then suggested that the writer really *meant* "stilted",
but i noted that the quote has a *verb* "stilted" while the existing
word "stilted" is an *adjective*. Towse suggested it was a typo for
"stilled", and then the thread died without any resolution, probably
because no one could see how to work "into a knee-jerk response" into
the thing.

i looked for examples of "stilted" 'stifled', initially without much
success.  a certain number of hits for "stilted laughter", but they
seem to be describing nervous laughter rather than stifled laughter:

While recently discussing the inspiration for his games, he managed to
cause a few people to hold their heads in stilted laughter, and redden
the face of at least one translator in the process ...
   (comment by gameboi, 1/21/08, on
http://www.destructoid.com/elephant/index.phtml?t=Suda+51 )

but then i hit on "stilted by".  this occurs in a variety of meanings
(especially 'slanted by', which was new to me, but also 'made stilted
by').  but a fair number look like they mean 'stifled by', for example:

The strength of "Calling Home" is in the personalities McMahan has
created. Very real ordinary people, stilted by their culture,
repressed by trauma, and devastated by loss, struggle to survive and
find a new way to live. The Lemmons family is very easy to root for.
This is a book about a family that you won't soon forget.

We are concerned that delay in deployment could have the affect of
going against the ADA and the Commission’s rules by having deployment
of new technology to those across the nation stilted by lack of action
on the original CapTel petition.

For one thing, I don't agree with Hamid's claim that in Baker's
telling, "President Bush comes out as a courageous visionary whose
wonderful ideas were stilted by the State Department bureaucracy and
by the government’s traditional resistance to new ideas."

After the Beatles became popular, John Lennon was increasingly
becoming a home- and studio-bound musician; the idea of touring was
turning into a major headache. By 1966, the Beatles' live performances
were, for the most part, pretty tired and lackluster, but there was
good reason for this. While their growth as concert artists had been
stilted by the screams, the oversized venues, and a strict 30-minute
format, their recordings were getting ever more sophisticated and

Yes, I did. I think it was from the guy saying that cussing was an art
form and that people shouldn't beat around the bush, but should speak
their mind. My point was that people(kids) no longer know HOW to speak
their mind. Their form of expression is completely stilted by the fact
that they only know about 2 adjectives("fuckin'") and use it in every
sentence they utter.
   comment on:

Like Spears, Bruce has morphed into an embarrassment to himself and
all his old friends. Unlike Bruce, Spears has an excuse: She’s
practically a child, whose maturity was likely stilted by the turmoil
of teen stardom. Bruce, by contrast, is a grown and educated man — one
entrusted by leading Republicans with representing a district and
making it look good.

(you actually have to look at the sources; a lot of the hits are mis-
scannings of "stated by".  be suspicious of anything from a google
book search.)

the sense development is unclear to me, in either direction.


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