An ad: _baby_ > _it_

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 26 14:02:18 UTC 2012

On Dec 26, 2012, at 2:13 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
>> And given the fact that Missouri, the heartland of pos. anymore (cf. Murray 1993), borders Tennessee (a little), it would be surprising if it weren't alive and well in western Tennessee too, and elsewhere in greater Appalachia.  (See refs. at
> _Missouri, the heartland of pos. anymore_
> The "Missouri" referred to must be that region which we who dwell in
> the Saint Louis island, Jefferson City, and Kansas City disdain as
> "*outstate* Missouri," where suddenly, if you're black, you find
> yourself back behind the Cotton Curtain. So, naturally, except for
> time at Fort Leonard Wood, I've never been in that part of the state.
> I last did what might loosely be called "residing" in StL in 1962,
> some three dekkids earlier than the relevant paper, and it wasn't
> until Ivan became my roommate in 1973 that I was made aware of the
> existence of positive anymore. (He told me about it. He didn't use
> it.)

He also wrote about it.

> So, WRT positive anymore, I'm lost in both time and space.

As Labov noted, this is one of those constructions that tends to be entirely opaque to those unfamiliar with it (which is why distinguished usage "experts" in virtual unanimity across two editions of the Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage judiciously assess it as “barbaric patois” (John Ciardi), “uneducated” (Isaac Asimov), “nonce slang” (Willard Espy), “a barbarism” (Red Smith), and variations of the theme:  “nonsensical”, “confusing”, “illogical”, “unsure immigrant speech”, “illiterate and without meaning”, “faintly nauseating”, “lower class”, “silly and probably a boner.”
> IAC, what *I* found interesting about the cited sentence was that it
> was possible to see it as a kind of *negative* anymore, so to speak,
> in positive-anymore clothing, as it were, and not its simple
> existence.

Most positive "anymore" sentences tend to be evaluatively negative (…'and I wish it weren't so'), so you're more likely to get "Gas is sure expensive anymore" than "Laptops are cheap anymore".  (Not the best example, since it's harder to find things moving in the cheap direction.)
> "Supplies are running low,
> since manufacturers are producing less and less of this product,
> anymore / since manufacturers aren't producing as much of this
> product, anymore."
> You can't do that with
> "Cigarettes are expensive, anymore."
> "Cigarettes aren't expensive, anymore"
> isn't a possible paraphrase of that.
Not sure I see the difference.  You wouldn't expect those last two to be mutual paraphrases, but "Cigarettes are expensive anymore" is a paraphrase of "Cigarettes aren't cheap anymore".  (Well, not exactly a paraphrase, but close to.)  In the same way, "Manufacturers are producing less and less of this product anymore" paraphrases "Manufacturers arn't producing as much of this product anymore", as you note. In each case, there is a paraphrase possible for those who aren't positive "anymore" speakers, but it never involves just sticking in a negation; you have to reverse the content as well.


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