[Ads-l] intrusive "of" intrudes further

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 12 16:05:12 UTC 2015


> On Jun 12, 2015, at 9:17 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at ameritech.net> wrote:
> 
> I don't think I explained clearly what I meant when I wrote, "This is the first time in my recollection that I've seen it intrude into constructions where the 'how ADJ' is predicative rather than attributive."
> 
> Usually, I see these constructions in situations like "I don't know how big (of) a boat we'll need," where the AdjP "how big (of)" modifies "boat" (and appears in the strange AdjP-Det-N syntax that these constructions have). It's a little clearer if we leave the WH-phrase in situ:
> 
> 	I don't know [we need [how big (of) a boat]].
> 
> But in JL's example, if we leave the WH-phrase in situ, and undo the relative-clause extraposition, we get
> 
> 	I cannot tell you [[the area we're searching in] is [how large]].
> 
> The AdjP is the complement of "is", not a modifier of "the area we're searching in".
> 
> I'm inclined to call this a production error, a blend of the following:
> 	
> 	I cannot tell you [how large (of) an area we're searching in].
> 	I cannot tell you [how large the area is that we're searching in.]
> 
> Neal

Ah, so we're converging.  Recall my invocation of a similar take in connection with the Googled example below:

==================
Now that I know how big of the difference there is, I am not even sure I would ever want to listen to iPod at home

These would all sound much more natural to me with "a(n)" than "the" (and changing the plural to singular when necessary). To anticipate Jerry Cohen, the last example might be seen as a blend of "how big of a difference there is" and "how big the difference is".

==================
> 
> 
> On 6/11/2015 3:11 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: intrusive "of" intrudes further
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>>> On Jun 11, 2015, at 2:58 PM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET> =
>> wrote:
>>> =20
>>> This is the first time in my recollection that I've seen it intrude =
>> into constructions where the "how ADJ" is predicative rather than =
>> attributive.
>>> =20
>>> Neal
>> I don't find it particularly odd.  Googling "I/You don't know how good =
>> of an idea" or "...how big of a relief" or whatever produces scads of =
>> hits that seem totally natural to me. Ditto, say, this very sequence as =
>> it appears in "Beyond that I don't know how large of an area you have to =
>> scour or what".  Or is there a condition that would rule out the example =
>> below while allowing the ones above?  Is it the definite ("the area")?  =
>> Maybe I'm missing something. =20
>> 
>> LH
>>> =20
>>> On 6/11/2015 2:47 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header =
>> -----------------------
>>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>>> Subject:      intrusive "of" intrudes further
>>>> =
>> --------------------------------------------------------------------------=
>> -----
>>>> =20
>>>> New York State Police spokeswoman:
>>>> =20
>>>> "I cannot tell you how large of the area is we're searching in."
>>>> =20
>>>> JL
>>>> =20
>>> =20
>>> --=20
>>> Dr. Neal Whitman
>>> Lecturer, ESL Composition
>>> School of Teaching and Learning
>>> College of Education and Human Ecology
>>> Arps Hall
>>> 1945 North High Street
>>> whitman.11 at osu.edu
>>> (614) 260-1622
>>> =20
>>> =20
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>>> The American Dialect Society - =
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> 
> -- 
> Dr. Neal Whitman
> Lecturer, ESL Composition
> School of Teaching and Learning
> College of Education and Human Ecology
> Arps Hall
> 1945 North High Street
> whitman.11 at osu.edu
> (614) 260-1622
> 
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