[Ads-l] Facebook

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 1 15:40:16 UTC 2015


On Sat, Aug 1, 2015 at 11:02 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>
>> On Aug 1, 2015, at 1:00 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>
>> "[Bernie Sanders,] a 73-year-old Jew _from Brooklyn via Vermont_ ..."
>>
>> Shouldn't that be
>>
>> "... a 73-year-old Jew _from Vermont via Brooklyn_ ..."?
>>
>> Or have I, once again, fallen behind the curve of language-change?
>
> Ah, another reversal?  Actually, I think I'd go for _from Brooklyn via
> Vermont_.  For me the "via" is 'by way of', so I'd take someone who told
> me he was from Vermont via Brooklyn as saying he started out in Vermont
> and spent some time in Brooklyn (probably Williamsburg, the most
> Vermonty neighborhood of Brooklyn) before getting here.  Someone from
> Vermont via Brooklyn would talk the way someone from Brooklyn (via
> anywhere) like Bernie does.  Haven't checked OED to see what sort of
> glosses and cites they show, this is just my own intuition.  Has there
> been a change of the "substitute" kind here?

Facebook may be contributing to confusion over the direction of "via,"
as noted by Barbara Need back in 2010. Thread starts here:
http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2010-February/096519.html

Barbara: "I am getting FB updates labeled X via Y where  message is
posted by X who got it from Y.  (So if a link is put up marked John
via Mary then John is a person you know and is the immediate source of
the link; you may or may not know Mary and she is John's source). I
can't get that and the OED definition does not seem to work either. I
would have to say either John from Mary or Mary via John."

Victor S: "It's not obvious from FB PR, but this is a recent addition.
This only happens when X clicks on 'share this' on something that has
been posted by Y. Normally, I would have expected [From] Y * via X,
but the full FB syntax appears to be X [got this] * via Y. If you
interpret it this way, there is nothing new to 'via'. I've been using
it on FB for a long time, e.g., when posting the original links I got
from other people or from blogs. But the new part is the FB now does
this automatically when you click on 'Share this' link."

Barbara: "Except that you have to intuit [got this]--and I don't. I
intuit [sent this]."

--bgz

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