[ADS-L] Baseball ling o

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 3 17:40:35 UTC 2008

I suppose it is worth remembering that there is a long history in the English 
language of using zero plurals for plurals of nouns of measure. This is a 
particularly resilient feature of American English dialects, particularly in the 
South. The fact that Doyle is in Georgia may increase the chances that he will 
hear this construction.

I reckon that fancier explanations may be more exciting, but here in North 
Carolina when we pay cash we are likely to be told "Your change is six cent" 
(unless the clerk is Hispanic). I would not have to two mile out in the country 
to hear zeros on all kinds of plurals of nouns of measure.

In a message dated 6/3/08 9:04:56 AM, cdoyle at UGA.EDU writes:

> In last night's TV broadcast (Cox SportSouth network) of the regional 
> championship baseball game between the Univeristy of Georgia and Georgia Tech, the 
> commentator consistently used the term "R.B.I." to refer to figures greater 
> than 1--for instance, one player had "posted ten R.B.I. in the tournament."  
> I don't recall having heard that construction before.  I wonder whether the 
> commentator regards "R.B.I." as a mass noun or interpretes the initialism to 
> represent "runs batted in" as well as "run batted in."
> The same commentator remarked on one occasion that Georgia kept "putting up 
> crooked numbers"--meaning, presumably, numbers of runs higher than 1 (Georgia 
> won the game 18-6). I had never heard that before either--though the phrase 
> "crooked numbers" gets 9,670 raw Google hits and "crooked number" 8,380--many 
> of them in reference to baseball:
> http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060929135052AAy9nkO
> Of course, the phrase "crooked letter" jokingly refers to the letter "s" in 
> the old (pseudo-)mnemonic-device for spelling "Mississippi."
> --Charlie
> _____________________________________________________________
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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