[Ads-l] "substitute" woes

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Sep 17 10:47:10 EDT 2016


Curious that they are still willing to characterize...excuse me, characterise this garden-variety use of the new substitute in terms of "what we meant was the reverse of what is written", since increasingly "substitute OLD for NEW" *is* what is meant, especially (as David Denison pointed out in his 2009 paper) in the U.K.  Interesting that there's still considerable pushback, though.  

As Arnold says (upthread, unless it's downthread) this cite meshes nicely with the general OLD PRECEDES NEW principle (alluded to in the correction) that's responsible for the innovative substitute in the first place. The "End weight" principle, dictating that lighter or less complex material precede heavier or more complex material--investigated recently by Wasow, Arnold et al.--may come into play here as well in favoring the structure used ("substitutes [academic selection] for [the principle of [‘whoever pays, wins’]]").  And as an additional fillip, we have one more instance of the "subject, predicate comma" we've been discussing of late ("whoever pays, wins" rather than "whoever pays wins").  Triple bonus score!

LH 

> 
> On Sep 17, 2016, at 1:31 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> From The Independent (UK), more proof that nobody really knows how to use
> the word "substitute" anymore:
> 
> ----
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.independent.co.uk_voices_mea-2Dculpa-2Dhow-2Dto-2Dsay-2Dthe-2Dopposite-2Dof-2Dwhat-2Dyou-2Dmean-2Da7309441.html&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=zFqrBLeF0OkTrPRBxqImfYwHlmlaN0MB2euq7o9au4E&s=if3rntO8CNtU0yw1uhVm3QLw-clsn5uf-kfW7EmgTuU&e= 
> Our editorial last Friday said we were worried that the Prime Minister’s
> planned new grammar schools would “attract an influx of the affluent
> seeking places, which pushes property prices up and, once again,
> substitutes academic selection for the principle of ‘whoever pays, wins’.”
> It’s a confusing bit of phraseology, but what we meant was the reverse of
> what is written, as Bernard Theobald wrote to point out.
> To substitute x for y means that you put x in the place of y, but this
> meaning clashes with the usual logic of English sentences, which is that
> you put the starting state first and the end state last. We meant
> “...substitutes the principle of ‘whoever pays, wins’ for academic
> selection.”
> ----
> 
> Another one for the Zwicky files...
> 
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__arnoldzwicky.org_2012_04_28_two-2Dremarks-2Don-2Dreversals_&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=zFqrBLeF0OkTrPRBxqImfYwHlmlaN0MB2euq7o9au4E&s=x93i5HdMZ4O_2mlPy0LARMrlVAV4hB6fx2Ok1ZzSrkA&e= 
> 
> --bgz
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=zFqrBLeF0OkTrPRBxqImfYwHlmlaN0MB2euq7o9au4E&s=moG6UKEkYTC2uV0mg4nJeiGqi2PAFC6cHpGw9Ssk9yY&e= 

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


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