"I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 18 01:55:11 UTC 2010

At 8:31 PM -0500 11/17/10, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>Larry, I'll search my complete digitized collection.  But I won't be able to
>get to it till tomorrow.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Great!  _Mad_ was, after all, the SNL of its (not-quite-postliterate)
era. Unknown to many, though.  My favorite illustration of this
semi-obscurity comes from a discussion in a syntax textbook by Andrew
Radford.  Radford was presenting a noncanonical verbless construction
exemplified by "What me worry?", as first analyzed by the late Adrian
Akmajian in a squib in Linguistic Inquiry.  Radford commented that
such examples were "inexplicably" referred to by Akmajian as "mad
magazine sentences".  Inexplicably if you can't explain (or
punctuate) it.  Is this a theoretical eggcorn?


*to be sure a non-American, writing for Cambridge U. Press, but you'd
think either he or his editors might have asked someone

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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