another meaning reversal

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun May 23 03:20:18 UTC 2010

At 10:28 PM -0400 5/22/10, victor steinbok wrote:
>Yes, thanks! I noticed it, but as soon as I went to look for a
>standard example, I forgot to mention it.

That could be relevant, but the first few pages of "so much of a
peep" have only one example of the kind below--the one Victor cites.
The others all involve negative polarity licensers (overt negation,
"without", "never", "if", "yet to", etc.).  Volokh's is either a typo
or an outlier.


>On Sat, May 22, 2010 at 9:04 PM, Gordon, Matthew J.
><GordonMJ at> wrote:
>>  It might be important that in the example that Victor cited it's
>>"so much OF a peep" not "so much as a peep." Thus, it's
>>interpretable as "something that is very peep-like," in other words
>>it was only a peep and nothing louder.
>>  -Matt Gordon
>>  ________________________________________
>>  From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
>>Of Laurence Horn [laurence.horn at YALE.EDU]
>>  Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2010 7:47 PM
>>  Subject: Re: another meaning reversal
>>  At 7:51 PM -0400 5/22/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>>>... like "he could care less".
>>  Interesting.  Only three other hits for the hyponegative "with so
>>  much as a peep" (i.e. the positive form with negative meaning), all
>>  in legal/political contexts, compared to 91,400 for "without so much
>>  as a peep".  So (some will say thankfully) no threat yet to the gold
>>  standard of hyponegs, "could care less" or "that'll teach you".
>>  LH
>>>This from the Volokh Conspiracy blog:
>>>>Yet in /Graham/, federal law was invalidated with so much of a peep
>>>>from the SG's office.
>>>"So much as a peep" is a reference to non-action by the Solicitor
>>>General, so the usual use I would have expected is "not so much as a peep".
>>>>There has been not so much as a mention of teh essay on the /Weekly
>>>>Standard/ or /National Review/ sites; there has been not so much as a
>>>>peep from AIPAC, which Beinart explicitly attacks.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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