one-time "whenever", live

Laurence Urdang urdang at SBCGLOBAL.NET
Wed Sep 5 14:31:57 UTC 2007

"not too uncommon "
  What in heaven's name does that mean?

"Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Douglas G. Wilson"
Subject: Re: one-time "whenever", live

> > This is not too uncommon in casual speech around here (Pittsburgh area).
> >
> > -- Doug Wilson
> >
> >
>If not, it must be a relatively recent phee-nom. I grew up in Pittsburgh
>and have never heard it. True, I moved away decades ago, but I've visited
>many times since.

I doubt it's recent. One's mileage may vary. When I say "not too
uncommon" I suppose I mean I hear it once a month or so and no longer
do a double-take. Maybe if I looked into it I'd find that it's
usually from one of a given five persons or something like that, I
don't know. I don't mean that I hear it right and left every day and
start to do it myself ... like the "needs washed" construction. (^_^)

When I moved here 18 years ago, I was most impressed by "rift" =
"belch", which (unlike the above things) I had AFAIK NEVER
encountered anywhere else. I did an experiment and indeed "rift"
outnumbered "belch" and "burp" and some other alternatives (small
data set overall though). But one day when I was swapping shibboleths
with several locals and I mentioned "rift" one ordinary man who had
lived his whole 25-30 years around here said he'd never heard the
word before (all the others knew it for sure).

-- Doug Wilson

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