positive anymore

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 18 18:10:17 UTC 2006

At 1:33 PM -0400 5/18/06, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>I just talked about this in my Soclx class yesterday and got the most
>puzzled looks from all but the Midland Ohioans in the class
>(predictably).  "Needs washed/fixed/done" was also new to most but not
>puzzling; i.e., outsiders could figure it out.  Positive "anymore"
>presented a meaning problem which took some time to disambiguate.

This is something Labov has commented on (in print).  Many speakers
who have almost certainly come into contact with positive "anymore"
refuse to believe that it has the meaning it does, despite the fact
that it essentially (though not exactly) means what negative polarity
"anymore" does, simply lacking the distributional constraint imposed
on the latter in the standard dialect, which in turn explains why
only the positive version can be fronted.  It's also not all that
different from standard Eng. "nowadays", or would be if the latter
could also be applied to shorter intervals, as "nowanhours" and such.
(My locus classicus is "The first few rounds were awful, but I've
been getting really great cards {%anymore/#nowadays}.")

I've seen that brief Kemp Malone note and one or two other mentions
in American Speech volumes from the 1920's or 1930's.


>  Shades
>of Trudgill's polylectalism vs. panlectalism argument with C-J Bailey.
>At 12:44 PM 5/18/2006, you wrote:
>>Speaking of positive "anymore" (as we were a few weeks ago), did anyone note
>>the brief note in American Speech in 1931 (6.5, p460) by Kemp Malone? Malone
>>says that he had never heard of it, but a reader reported it from West
>>and says it is heard not merely from "shopgirls" but from "teachers."
>>You can access the article through JSTOR and download it as a pdf file.
>>I don't think that ADS-L will let me send it as an attached file.
>>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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