LINGUIST List 2.622

Tue 08 Oct 1991

Disc: Anymore

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Michael Kac", Re: 2.607 Queries
  2. Ron Smyth, Re: 2.608 Polite Pronouns
  3. Robin J. Edmundson, RE: 2.607 Queries
  4. Larry Horn, Re: 2.607 Queries
  5. "STEVE SEEGMILLER", RE: 2.607 Queries
  6. Allan C. Wechsler, 2.610 Anymore

Message 1: Re: 2.607 Queries

Date: Thu, 3 Oct 91 17:42:27 -0500
From: "Michael Kac" <>
Subject: Re: 2.607 Queries
Rick Russom inquires about the distribution of positive *any more*. I
cannot give a comprehensive account, but here is some partial information.
Although not confined to the Philadelphia area, the phenomenon is well
entrenched there. Some work done back in the '70's by Labov's group at
Penn suggests that even if there is no overt negative marker, one is
most likely to find something in the content that indicates a negative
attitude on the part of the speaker toward the topic -- as in *The city
is really filthy any more*.
Michael Kac
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Message 2: Re: 2.608 Polite Pronouns

Date: Thu, 3 Oct 91 23:27:35 EDT
From: Ron Smyth <>
Subject: Re: 2.608 Polite Pronouns
When I was in grad school, Gary Prideaux, a Texan, told us that the use of
'anymore' without an overt negator was common in his home state. I had never
heard it in Canada until, whilat Queen's University in Kingston (middlle of
the north shore of Lake Ontario), I met two university educated people (husband
and wife, born in the 1930's) who used it frequently. Each time LP used it,
I waited until the content of her statement had passed, then asked whether
or not it might have been a slip. She said it was perfectly normal, but that
others had commented on it in the past.
I don't think it's feature of the Kingston area dialect. What do you
learnability theorists thing about the possibility that someone might
develop this 'overgeneralization' without prior exposure? With one or two
accidental exposures (etc.).
Ron Smyth
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Message 3: RE: 2.607 Queries

Date: Fri, 4 Oct 91 11:31:35 EST
From: Robin J. Edmundson <>
Subject: RE: 2.607 Queries
re: anymore
I believe that this is a midwest phenomenon. At any rate the use of
anymore without a negative is very acceptable in my dialect (northern
Indiana, south-central Indiana). For example, I can say things like:
	Anymore, we sleep late on Saturdays.
This basically means that we used to not sleep late on Saturdays, but
now we do. In other words, 'anymore' in this sense is the opposite of
'used to' (in a PAST/PRESENT opposition).
Something similar is the use of 'yet' in the same dialect. For example,
	She's downstairs yet.
We can use it without a negative. 'Yet' means 'still' in this sentence.
robin edmundson
indiana university, bloomington
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Message 4: Re: 2.607 Queries

Date: Fri, 04 Oct 91 14:30:07 EDT
From: Larry Horn <LHORNYALEVM.YCC.Yale.Edu>
Subject: Re: 2.607 Queries
Re Rick Russom's query (2.607) on 'the distribution of "anymore" used in
sentences without negation (like "still")': in fact, there has been work done
on positive (or more properly non-negative-polarity) "anymore" and its
geographical distribution, but the first datum to remember is that such
occurrences of "anymore" are NOT equivalent to "still". Indeed, Labov
somewhere brings up this case as an instance of how opaque a given dialect
trait can be to speakers outside that dialect: non-positive-"anymore"
speakers are likely to guess that "He always goes there anymore" means that he
STILL goes there, when in fact for those speakers who actually get such
sentences it's closer to meaning that he goes there NOW or NOWADAYS,
presupposing that he didn't used to (I'll finess what I mean by 'presuppose').
Actually the "nowadays" paraphrase isn't exact, since it requires a longer time
interval than "anymore": if you ask me whether I've been getting good poker
hands I can say "anymore, I am" (note the preposing, characteristic of non-
polarity "anymore") but not "nowadays, I am" if my luck changed an hour ago.
Anyway, the best paper on so-called positive "anymore" is by Don Hindle and
Ivan Sag from one of the NWAVE volumes in the '70's, if I'm not mistaken, but
this largely deals with variation rather than distribution. Raw data on the
latter can be gleaned from contributions over the years to "American Speech",
especially from the 1930's and thereabouts. (There's also a brief discussion
of this in my CLS 6 paper (1970), "Ain't it hard (anymore)", significant
principally for motivating the first appearance in print of the % notation,
developed by Paul Neubauer and me, for a sentence whose grammaticality is
dialectally restricted, viz. "Floyd always thinks he's right anymore".) While
I claimed in this paper that the positive "anymore" dialect encompasses the
American midwest, extending eastward to Pennsylvania and southward to Georgia,
but largely bypassing urban areas, I'm not confident that this assessment is
correct. One citation of interest is due to D. H. Lawrence, whose character
Birkin in "Women in Love" complains "Suffering bores me any more". (The
spelling of this adverb as two words in British English, incidentally, makes it
impossible to research its distribution in the OED, since it evidently doesn't
count as a lexical item on that side of the pond.)
 --Larry Horn
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Message 5: RE: 2.607 Queries

Date: 4 Oct 91 16:36:00 EST
Subject: RE: 2.607 Queries
This is an anecdotal reply to Rick Russom's query about "anymore" in the
sense of "yet" or "still". When I was growing up in northern Utah, an
entire family of my cousins, including those who were my age and were born
in the same town, used "anymore" in non-negative sentences, i.e. they would
say things like "It's hard to find a job here anymore." This usage always
struck me as strange, and I never noticed anyone else using it, which I
take to mean that it was not usual in that place at that time.
Steve Seegmiller
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Message 6: 2.610 Anymore

Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1991 10:38-0400
From: Allan C. Wechsler <ACWYUKON.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: 2.610 Anymore
I haven't verified this reference, from Jim Quinn's _American Tongue and
 "Quite absurd," he said. "Suffering bores me any more."
 -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, _Women in Love_, xiii, p. 159.
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