[Ads-l] a saying: "not what it used to be. . . ."

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 6 16:42:06 UTC 2021

Ah, brings back memories.  50 years ago I published a paper exploring the conditions in which presuppositions can be cancelled, and included the example sentence (riffing off Tennessee Williams, https://tinyurl.com/y5jb6ofk):

(21) a.  The milk train doesn't stop here anymore, if it ever did.   [p. 322]

From L. Horn (1970), "Ain’t it hard (anymore)". CLS 6 [Papers from the Sixth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society].


> On Jan 6, 2021, at 11:10 AM, George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
> In a post yesterday, Geoff Nathan wrote " Of course my memory isn't what it
> used to be. If it ever was..."
> This put me in mind of a saying that I connect with NYC: "the Village isn't
> what it used to be, but then, it never was" -- Greenwich Village, of course.
> It wouldn't surprise me to learn that there is a cuneiform tablet in the
> British Museum that reads "Nineveh isn't what it used to be, but then. . .
> ."  Is Greenwich Village really the original site referenced?  Or are there
> earlier examples?
> I don't have a citation for this motto in my NYC notes.  I must have seen
> it in a book that I no doubt own, but which one?
> -- 
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998.
> But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
> your lowly tomb. . .
> L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112
> The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
> picture of his great-grandfather.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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