[Ads-l] Pronunciation

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 1 14:16:27 EST 2017


I don't think "emphatic" in that verse is a case of nouning -- it's just a
"flat adverb" ("most emphatic" = "most emphatically").


On Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 1:42 PM, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com>
wrote:

> I was curious about the origin of the "little girl/curl" poem, so I tried
> a Google Books search, specifying Nineteenth Century.
>
> The earliest hit was The Ohio Farmer  for Saturday, Nov. 4, 1871.
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=zDo5AQAAMAAJ&pg=
> PA701&dq=%22was+bad+she+was+horrid%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=
> 0ahUKEwjIouGdo7XSAhVq4oMKHRf9A7IQ6AEISDAJ#v=onepage&q=%
> 22was%20bad%20she%20was%20horrid%22&f=false
>
> A three-stanza version was printed without attribution:
>
>    There was a little girl
>    Who had a little curl
>    Right in the middle of her forehead
>    When she was good
>    She was very very good
>    But when she bad she was horrid
>
>    She went up stairs
>    And her parents, unawares
>    Was a looking out of the window
>    She stood on her head
>    In her little trundle-beg
>    And nobody nigh to hinder
>
>    Her mother heard the noise
>    And she thought it was the boys
>    A playing in the empty attic
>    But she ran up-stairs
>    And caught her unawares
>    And spanked her most emphatic
>
> Recently ADS-L had a thread about "nouning adjectives".  "emphatic" is an
> 1871 example.
>
> Another hit had a different second stanza:
>
> St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine For Young Folks
> vol VIII  May to October 1881
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=dxAbAAAAYAAJ&pg=
> PA850&dq=%22was+bad+she+was+horrid%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=
> 0ahUKEwjIouGdo7XSAhVq4oMKHRf9A7IQ6AEIHzAB#v=onepage&q=%
> 22was%20bad%20she%20was%20horrid%22&f=false
>
>   There was a little boy
>   And he had a fur cap
>   Which came to the middle of his forehead
>   And when he was cold
>   He was very, very cold
>   But when he was warm he was torrid.
>
> The Current, Volume IX, Number [illegible] for Saturday, December 3, 1887,
> page 389
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=YyfZAAAAMAAJ&pg=
> PA389&dq=%22was+bad+she+was+horrid%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=
> 0ahUKEwiGwvLgpbXSAhUMw4MKHUXmBIY4ChDoAQgZMAA#v=onepage&q=%
> 22was%20bad%20she%20was%20horrid%22&f=false
>
> has a detailed attribution to Longfellow:
>
> <quote>
> a lady told him she disliked the silly little poems written to children,
> such as
>     <snip> But when she was bad, she was horrid.
> Mr. Longfellow laughed, and turning to his daughter who had just entered
> the room, said: "Do you remember who wrote that, Annie?"  "Oh, yes!" she
> answered, "you said that to baby one morning, when she refused to have her
> hair brushed."
> </quote>
>
> A later copy of St. Nicholas, volume X, September 1883, page 876, a
> letters to the editor section, also has a detailed attribution:
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=xthDAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA876&dq=Longfellow%
> 2Bhoughton+mifflin%2B%22had+a+little+curl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-2o2P-
> bXSAhXKSyYKHcL6C6wQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=Longfellow%
> 2Bhoughton%20mifflin%2B%22had%20a%20little%20curl%22&f=false
>
> <quote>
> In behalf of my little ones, Jessie and Harold, aged 8 and 4, who take
> great delight in your monthly visits, I answer your query as to the author
> of the jingle
>       "There was a little girl,
>        And she had a little curl" etc.
> by telling you that I have a letter from Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.,
> Mr. Longfellow's publishers, saying that Mr. Longfellow did compose the one
> stanza beginning as above, but never published it.  The subsequent
> additions, or pardoeis, however ("There was a little boy", etc.) were made
> by other persons.   Yours truly,
>                          A. H. Nelson
> </quote>
>
>
>

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