[Ads-l] _try to_ vs. _try and_

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 16 11:34:39 EST 2017


Margaret Lee wrote:
>  Yes, I was taught to use 'try to' rather than 'try and'.   The old 'proper English' mandate,
> but what exactly is 'proper English'?  Who decides what is 'proper'?   Are any of you
> familiar with the Max Weinreich quote:  "A language is a dialect with an army an
> a navy" ?

The quotation linked to Max Weinreich was mentioned in this mailing
list back in 2014 by Neal Whitman who saw it mentioned in the Boston
Glob:

http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2014-March/131635.html

Alice Faber and Ben Zimmer commented, and Ben pointed to a pertinent
tweet by Amanda Katz:

https://twitter.com/katzish/status/445650442509639680

The tweet pointed to a note in the journal Language and Society:

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4180952

The journal printed an excerpt from a Yiddish mailing list which gives
a citation. Apparently, Weinreich employed the saying but he credited
a young man who came to his lectures. The note further states that
Joshua Fishman believes he may have been the young man.

Garson



>     On ‎Saturday‎, ‎December‎ ‎16‎, ‎2017‎ ‎12‎:‎04‎:‎23‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EST, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>
>  I was somewhat intrigued to find, in Am.Sp., Vol.81, No.3, an article with
> the following title:
>
> Why Does Canadian English use _try to_, But British English Use _try and_?
>
> Not having read the article, I have no answer to that question. However, I
> *can* answer the question, "Why do _I_ use _try to_ and not _try and_?"
>
> The answer is simple. I was specifically *taught* not to use _try and_,
> because the construction is semi-literate and déclassé, used only by the
> ill-taught lower orders. The well-educated, better classes use only _try
> to_, as one of many small ways in which their use of language demonstrates
> their command of proper English.
>
> Didn't none of y'all get taught this class distinction, I reckon.
>
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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