"As Well."

James C Stalker stalker at MSU.EDU
Fri May 4 04:18:38 UTC 2007

I wonder about #2 being specifically Canadian.  I spent 4 years in Turkey,
editing a lot of Turkish English.  Introductory "as well" was a favorite.  I
suspect that it's origin is British rather than Canadian.


Arnold M. Zwicky writes:

> On May 3, 2007, at 3:58 AM, Bill Le May wrote:
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: American Dialect Society
>>> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of GLL
>>> I have heard 'as well' used to mean 'also' (the speaker was
>>> from Tempe, AZ,
>>> fwiw.)
>> In the 1980s the company where I worked (in El Paso, TX) merged
>> with a firm
>> from Toronto, and we had an influx of 5 or 6 Canadians, all of whom
>> used "as
>> well" for also. As a result, I picked up the usage as well.
> Garner's Modern American Usage (p. 71) identifies sentence-initial
> "as well" 'also' as a canadianism ("this phrase has traditionally
> been considered poor usage.  But in Canada it's standard").
> this, of course, is not the usage this discussion started with, which
> was "as well" used as a sentence-final negative polarity particle,
> where standard english has "either".  there are at least three
> phenomena here:
> 1.  sentence-final (positive) additive adverbial: Kim went as well
> 'Kim also went, Kim went too'.  standard.
> 2.  sentence-initial discourse linker: As well, there are the
> children to consider 'Also, there are the children to consider'.
> disparaged by some, but apparently ok in canada.
> 3.  sentence-final negative additive adverbial: Kim didn't go as well
> 'Kim also didn't go, Kim didn't go either'.  non-standard, much like:
> Kim didn't go too.
> these are clearly related uses, but need to be distinguished.  #1
> (with "as well" functioning as a tightly adjoined focus particle) is
> presumably the historical original.  in #2, "as well" is treated as a
> loosely adjoined sentence adverbial and can then occur in sentence-
> initial position, functioning as a discourse linker; "too" underwent
> the same extension: Too, there are the children to consider.  (see
> MWDEU under "too" for some discussion of the complex history of this
> usage.)  #3 is an extension of "as well" as in #1 to negative
> contexts, where the standard focus particle is "either".
> arnold
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

James C. Stalker
Department of English
Michigan State University

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

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