Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Linguistic text analysis
Question: Hello, I am doing linguistic analysis of advertisements and have a question related to terminology. The sentence in the ad is, ''When was the last time wine won Best Beer in the World? Nineteen ninety never, that's when''. I am particularly interested in determining what the phrase ''nineteen ninety never'' is in linguistic terms. I know in slang it means that it never happened, but is there a particular linguistic term for this type of expression? Could anyone help?
Reply: The closest I could come to a term for it is "syntactic blend." "Nineteen ninety never" is a blend of a number phrase, a type of noun phrase, and a time adverb, "never." The classical term is anacoluthon, which translates literally into Latin as "non sequitur." The standard examples tend to involve interrupting a sentence with another thought, as in “you really ought—well, do it your own way.” The example comes from the Merriam-Webster on line entry for anacoluthon. Your example phrasal rather than sentential, but the term could probably be stretched that far.
Reply From: Herbert Frederic Stahlke      click here to access email
Date: 10-Dec-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Linguistic text analysis    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (10-Dec-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions