[Ads-l] "just as good _of_ a(n) NP"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 20 12:33:09 UTC 2015

On Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 12:48 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> DQo+IE9uIE9jdCAxOSwgMjAxNSwgYXQgNzowNiBBTSwgTGF...

Arnold's post got munged again, so here it is from the online archive.


[begin AZ's message]

> On Oct 19, 2015, at 7:06 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> Agreed on the widespread popularity of the + versions for younger
> speakers, and on the citation of the recency effect, but I'm not sure
> that we really be sure that (quoting Arnold, with contrastive
> *highlighting* added) for the relevant speakers (of any age) who
> accept/produce the +of version in the relevant contexts that
>> it is now simply *the* standard form.  they understand the older -of
>> EDM, but for them it must come from an odd non-standard dialect,
>> or it's terminally old-fashioned, or it's a typo.
> Can we be sure, without direct empirical feedback, that such speakers
> don't accept both + and - versions as standard and natural?

actually, i had a whole class of stanford undergraduates who weighed
in on the question when the subject came up in class, and they all
though the +of versions were just *mistakes* -- failures to Include
All Necessary Words, in fact (they had that concept).  a few of them
said they'd been taught not to use of "of", but they dismissed that
advice as dumb stuff that schoolteachers try to impose on kids.

since then, i've unsystematically questioned other undergraduates, and
older people.  the youngfolk are unanimous.  but even a few of the
older informants (one in his 50s!) treated  +of EDM as weird and
foreign to them.

i stopped collecting examples of +of EDM years ago; there were just
too many of them.


[end AZ's message]

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