Overnegation and Nary (Your Language Log Post)

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 31 03:13:44 UTC 2007

Oh, good. I was thinking of Wellman, but not willing to dig out the book;
and it didn't seem to me that Silver John (the hero) and the other
characters ever used "ary" outside a negative polarity context. But this is
a clear case. As Jim wrote, John's just been told that the hoodoo man can
get anything he wants, and John is asking how he does it. My positive
"anything" in that sentence = John's "ary thing".

m a m

On 5/30/07, Marc Sacks <msacks at theworld.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Marc Sacks <msacks at THEWORLD.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Overnegation and Nary (Your Language Log Post)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Jim Parish wrote:
> >
> > Not Faulkner, but here's another use of "ary", from Manly Wade
> > Wellman's short story "O Ugly Bird!" (copyright 1946, but my copy is in
> > a 1963 anthology, _Who Fears the Devil?_):
> >
> > "I thought for a moment, then I inquired him: 'What's the way he can get
> > ary thing he wants in this valley?'"
> >
> This "ary" doesn't look like a positive version of "nary," as the Faulkner
> example did. If I encountered this out of context I'd probably read it as
> a typo for "any."
> "Nary" looks like a variant of "never," in which context "ary=ever" makes
> some sense, but that doesn't work in Jim's example.
> Marc Sacks
> msacks at theworld.com

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list