[Ads-l] when = 'if'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 29 19:58:11 UTC 2015


Naturally only the humorous ones registered, because I'n that kind of guy.

But Larry's analysis is kind of brilliant.

*When only he were as famous as the late Edwin Newman!

JL

On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 3:25 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
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: when = 'if'
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> > On Sep 29, 2015, at 3:04 PM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET> =
> wrote:
> >=20
> > All of these examples strike me as the same kind of individual-level =
> predicate humorously interpreted as a stage-level predicate, also =
> exemplified in the phrase "driving while black."
> >=20
> > Neal
>
> Individual-level yes, but again they don't strike me as necessarily =
> humorous, and a look at the contexts of the web examples, it seems clear =
> that they're not intended jocularly (as opposed to the hypothetical =
> "when you're a cat" case).  But I'll grant that maybe this is a =
> difference across speakers.  I can't override the temporal component of =
> "while" in the above type of example (even though there's the =
> non-temporal adversative sense of "while" in other contexts) but in a =
> sentence beginning with "When you're black...", e.g.
>
> "When you're black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from =
> other black people."
> --Charles Barkley
> "When you're Black you have to face the harsh reality that you or a =
> loved one could become the next hashtag on Twitter."
> "But when you're Black, you have to face some kind of nonsense, solely =
> based on your skin color, sooner or later."
> "When you're black you have to know the right people, otherwise you're a =
> nobody."
>
> there's nothing funny going on.  Same for the "When you're a woman" =
> cases, as in the example in which "when" and "if" are interchangeable:
> "When you're a woman you have to prove, more than if you're a man, =
> that..."
>
> There's no way to get parallel non-jocular (and/or non-trans) readings =
> for "While you're a woman you have more to prove."
>
> YMMV. =20
>
> LH
> >=20
> > On 9/29/2015 2:57 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: when =3D 'if'
> >> =
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> -----
> >>=20
> >>> On Sep 29, 2015, at 2:35 PM, Jonathan Lighter =
> <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> =3D
> >> wrote:
> >>> =3D20
> >>> You're absolutely right, Ben. At least it's "if" in this version.
> >>> =3D20
> >>> But the major point stands.  I've heard the "when" usage a number of =
> =3D
> >> times,
> >>> though only in humorous contexts, likely just within this decade.
> >>> =3D20
> >>> JL
> >> Only the "when you're a cat" example (if it had been a "when you're a =
> =3D
> >> cat" example, which I agree it could have been) is humorous; the =
> other =3D
> >> non-temporal cases of "when you're ..." cases, with "...a woman", =3D
> >> "blind", etc. (and with impersonal subjects and generic readings, and =
> no =3D
> >> implications of "sometimes you aren't") are serious and entirely =3D
> >> natural, at least for me.
> >>=20
> >> LH
> >>> =3D20
> >>> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 2:16 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> =3D
> >> wrote:
> >>> =3D20
> >>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >>>> -----------------------
> >>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>>> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> >>>> Subject:      Re: when =3D3D 'if'
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> =3D
> >> =
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> =3D
> >> -----
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 1:55 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> OED when, def. 8a ends by saying "sometimes nearly =3D3D 'if.'"
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> Cites go back to ca1175.
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> There is, however what I take to be a recent usage that goes =
> further =3D
> >> and
> >>>>> essentially equals "if."
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> Current TV commercial:
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> "When you're a cat, you ignore people. It's what you do."
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> I.e., you ignore people "if" you're a cat. "When" implies there =
> are =3D
> >> times
> >>>>> when you're not.
> >>>>> =3D20
> >>>>> Which is never, if you're a cat.
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> I think you might have misheard that, Jon. Sounds like "if" to me:
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> =3D
> >> =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttps-3A__www.youtube.com_w=
> at=3D
> >> =
> ch-3Fv-3DKk-5F6-5FVhwijA&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3Dw=
> Fp3X4M=3D
> >> =
> u39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3Ds0ar5C0SR85JlyznQ3AtNLaMf8t5eKL=
> yh=3D
> >> IIbxuXLdoM&s=3D3DtcXIfw7l8Mgt5l5Ht_oehLmM_XsvO1TcHmxiEpXMEVw&e=3D3D=3D2=
> 0
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> It's one of a series of Geico commercials involving versions of the
> >>>> line, "If you're X, you Y. It's what you do."
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> --bgz
> >>>> =3D20
> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>>> The American Dialect Society - =3D
> >> =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialec=
> t.=3D
> >> =
> org&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0Z=
> pW1TsS=3D
> >> =
> xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3Ds0ar5C0SR85JlyznQ3AtNLaMf8t5eKLyhIIbxuXLdoM&s=3D3DAV=
> IWp_=3D
> >> h0j6mgw3nU4bv4_-bfgbvXSaBiah0iumAttMo&e=3D3D=3D20
> >>>> =3D20
> >>> =3D20
> >>> =3D20
> >>> =3D20
> >>> --=3D20
> >>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the =
> =3D
> >> truth."
> >>> =3D20
> >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >>> The American Dialect Society - =3D
> >> =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3D3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialec=
> t.=3D
> >> =
> org&d=3D3DAwIBaQ&c=3D3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3D3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0Z=
> pW1TsS=3D
> >> =
> xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3D3Ds0ar5C0SR85JlyznQ3AtNLaMf8t5eKLyhIIbxuXLdoM&s=3D3DAV=
> IWp_=3D
> >> h0j6mgw3nU4bv4_-bfgbvXSaBiah0iumAttMo&e=3D3D=3D20
> >>=20
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialect.=
> org&d=3DAwIC-g&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsS=
> xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DMtZIv82teyldca60EKzETTUWHf3PFVJ2nIFvlLosKLU&s=3DrpB9ud=
> XuyqQ_A_JIWi_Fp0uwiBtNelaJn860nqhlLzE&e=3D=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
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialect.=
> org&d=3DAwIC-g&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsS=
> xPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DMtZIv82teyldca60EKzETTUWHf3PFVJ2nIFvlLosKLU&s=3DrpB9ud=
> XuyqQ_A_JIWi_Fp0uwiBtNelaJn860nqhlLzE&e=3D=20
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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