LINGUIST List 2.468

Sat 07 Sep 1991

Disc: Just in case

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  1. Geoffrey Russom, Re: Announcement; Responses: in/on
  2. "Barbara.Abbott", "just in case"
  3. BARBARA PARTEE, Re: Queries

Message 1: Re: Announcement; Responses: in/on

Date: Wed, 04 Sep 91 09:39:01 EDT
From: Geoffrey Russom <EL403015brownvm.brown.edu>
Subject: Re: Announcement; Responses: in/on
When I took logic from Pat Suppes at Stanford, I was puzzled by the
use of the phrase "just in case" to mean "if and only if." As a speaker
of American English, I had always used "just in case" to mean
something like "to provide for the possibility that." So I would
say, e.g., "I'm taking my umbrella just in case it rains despite the
forecast." I think that for people who talk this way there's a sense
that the occasion provided for is not too likely to occur, but likely
enough to worry about. Pat and Donald Davidson said things like
"You're married just in case you've said 'I do' in the appropriate
circumstances." I believe this may derive from British English, but
I don't know for sure.
-- Rick Russom
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Message 2: "just in case"

Date: Wednesday, 4 September 1991 10:15am ET
From: "Barbara.Abbott" <ABBOTTmsu.edu>
Subject: "just in case"
My own first experience with "just in case" in the sense 'if and only
if' was at UC Berkeley in 1969, in a class (called "Foundations of
Organization of Knowledge") taught by Patrick Wilson, who had been a
philosopher at UCLA before coming to Berkeley to head the School of
Library Science (which is where the class was being taught).
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Message 3: Re: Queries

Date: Tue, 3 Sep 91 22:39 EST
From: BARBARA PARTEE <PARTEEcs.umass.EDU>
Subject: Re: Queries
To David Denison's query about the use of "just in case" for "iff": I
remember being very surprised by that use of "just in case" in my first year
at MIT in 1961 - it struck me as curious to be setting m to 0 on the chance
that n might turn out to be odd, which is how I interpreted it the first
time I heard it (from Chomsky, I think). I do not know how widespread it is
or already then was among mathematicians, but I hadn't encountered it as an
undergraduate math major, and it certainly isn't plain American English. I
considered it sufficiently unusual and potentially misleading that I
included a warning about it in the "Preliminaries" section of my
_Fundamentals of Mathematics for Linguistics_.
	Barbara Partee (parteecs.umass.edu)
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