as such 'therefore'

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Tue Nov 22 14:39:49 UTC 2005

From:    "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> On Nov 21, 2005, at 5:21 AM, David Bowie wrote, about consequential
> "as such":

>>You mean this usage isn't standard?

>>David, who was seriously surprised

> wonderful.  this happens so often that someone should collect
> instances.  usage U is reported.  X observes that U is nonstandard,
> or ungrammatical,  scarcely comprehensible, and probably rare.  and
> Y, who sees nothing odd about U, asks, in effect, "doesn't everyone
> say that?"  crucially, Y is highly educated, a practiced and
> effective speaker and writer, etc.  (in the tale of GoToGo, i was Y,
> by the way.)

Actually, this is along the lines of what i thought when i saw Jonathan
Lighter's response to me--i was absolutely and utterly amazed that
something like consequential 'as such' might could[1] be "thoroughly
incomprehensible", and immediately started wondering how often this
happens. On this list alone--though admittedly a list about language may
have a larger pool of possible hits--we've had a *lot* of these, in my

> the larger point here is that no one, absolutely no one, can know
> *all* the details about what is standard or not in a language...

This has been bothering me a lot lately in regard to the way we often
describe variation (particularly phonetic variation, but that's 'cause
that's most of what *i* do)--we tend to describe, without necessarily
using those words, variants from some accepted standard. Particularly if
you're trying to come to some statistical model of the variation, this
is going to lead to problems down the road--but i'm not quite sure of
how to model things without doing so.

Maybe we need to start making lx grad students take a course in
non-normal Bayesian models before they get degreed.[3]


[1] Throwing in one i've had students claim is thoroughly
incomprehensible, just for fun.

[2] With me as Y more than my share of the time, it feels. There's an
open question of whether that means i'm a really advanced (in terms of
adopting innovations) speaker, or i have a lower threshhold for
grammatical acceptibility, or i just really *do* have no sense of
grammar. I'll let everybody else choose.

[3] Floated mainly to hear the shouts of horror, even though i do think
even qualitativists and pure theory folk in lx might would be well
served by more rigorous statistical training.

David Bowie                               
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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