"sometime" (was: New to me)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 4 06:14:23 UTC 2012

On Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 9:52 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
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> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: "sometime" (was: New to me)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Mar 3, 2012, at 8:50 AM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>> On Mar 2, 2012, at 6:37 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>> From the ZDNet site:
>>> Â "Show _Anyways_?"
>>> I've heard this in the wild since forever and I've seen it in print as
>>> an oddity used to provide color, like _youse_ or _y'all_, but I've
>>> never seen it in an "official," as it were, document, so to speak.
>>> You click on "Show Anyways?" and deleted posts from _Below threshold_
>>> are displayed.
>> entries in both DARE and MWDEU. Â here's Gabe Doyle on the form:
>> http://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/s-series-i-anyways/
>> The historical source of anyways is as the adverbial genitive of any way, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. In this regard, anyways is analogous to always (genitive of all way(s)) or sometimes (genitive or plural of some time). The difference is that for the latter two words, the genitive version solidly beat out the bare form. Alway is basically gone from English now, and sometime lingers on as an adjective in only a limited, often literary, role (e.g., there is a blog titled Life and Times of a Sometime Poet).** […]
> Odd that this entry doesn't acknowledge what at least for me is a salient semantic contrast, i.e. a division of labor between "sometimes" (the frequentative adverb) and "sometime" (a fancy version of 'former', not of 'sometimes'). Â In the above, I assume the blogger used to be a poet, not that s/he is a poet on occasion.
> But on consulting the AHD usage note, I see that I'm being too hasty here: Â there are actually two distinct words, one with the 'former' meaning which has been around since the 15th century and the other as indicated above, attested since the 1930s (ex.: "the team's sometime star and sometime problem child"). Â Go know. Â Although if it's only attested since the 1930s, is it really a case of the earlier historical non-genitive form of the frequentative _sometimes_ "linger[ing] on"? Â I'd guess the "sometime poet" (Bob, evidently) and "sometime problem child" involve a 20th century back-formation of an adjective to correspond to the adverb _sometimes_, not a relic of (some)time past.
> LH
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Way back when, I came across both _toweard_ and _toweardes_ cited
together in some random grammar of Old English. My parents and my
grandparents used "towards" - [twadz] in their dialect - but I prefer
"toward, rhyming with "board.""

AFAIK, this difference is completely random. Likewise, they used
"(n)eye-thuh," but I prefer "(n)ee-ther."

I can't assign the non-Wilsonic choices to any set. That is, though I
don't use those pronunciations, plenty of my friends do use the s form
and/or the eye form. So, there's no distinction to be made that
accords with race, generation, education, income, etc., that I'm aware
of. As the song goes,

"you can get with this
"Or you can get with that
"The Choice is yours"

OTOH, FWIW, "anyways" does strike me as non-prescriptive.

Though, of course, the choice is still up to you.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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