[Ads-l] _try to_ vs. _try and_

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Fri Nov 11 11:23:19 EST 2016


I wonder whether -- actually, I don't wonder, I'm pretty sure! -- where the
stress is placed is much more a marker of difference in "meaning".

Stressing "You", "can", "try" "fix", or "car" produces quite different outcomes.

Extending the text could also shift the possible meaning of the whole previous
string of text:

     You can try to fix my car, but you [referring to another person] can't.

     (You can try to fix my car, but she can't.)

-- although in the above two cases, different stressed words would still produce
distinctly different outcomes.

     You can try to fix my car, but you won't succeed.

     You can try to fix my car, but but not hers.

     You can try to fix my car, but not my computer.

Guessing, and depending on one's particular idiolect, "to" could be replaced by
"and" in every one of the above examples.

Allowing stress (and intonation) to be considered as a component of the system
(which it is in Spoken English and can be indicated in Written English by such
things as bold, italics, etc.), you don't even need to appeal to a
non-linguistic context to disambiguate to a significant degree.

Robin

> 
>     On 11 November 2016 at 11:24 W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> 
>     Difference of expectation between <try to V> and <try & V>?
>     WB opines:
>     (1) You can try to fix my car ... (I 've given up trying. Go on, have at
>     it. Good luck. You'll need it.) (Possible strong stress on either <YOU can
>     try> or <You can TRY>.)
>     (2) You can try 'n' fix my car ... (I couldn't. I hope you can.) As a
>     spoken construction, I cannot pronounce the full <and>: <'n'> / _C; <'nd>
>     /_V.
> 
>     No simple past form for <try & V>? *I tried 'n' fixed it. (No way,
>     José.)
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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