LINGUIST List 2.677

Thu 17 Oct 1991

Misc: Anymore, Last names, ASL

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Scott Delancey, anymore
  2. Paul Saka, RE: 2.663 Polite Names
  3. , Re: 2.663 Is Language Finite? Polite Forms
  4. , `Literature' and oppression

Message 1: anymore

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1991 11:08 PDT
Subject: anymore
For Bruce Nevin, and others who've contacted me directly: How positive
_anymore_ works (no, I'm not a native speaker, but I think I can mimic
native proficiency by now) is that, exactly like standard anymore,
it takes the rest of the sentence in its scope (that's why there's an
association between the "+A" dialect and preposed _anymore_) and asserts
that it was formerly not true and now is. Thus
	[I don't smoke] anymore = formerly NOT [I don't smoke] &
				 presently [I don't smoke]
	[There's panhandlers all over] anymore =
		formerly NOT [There's panhandler's all over] &
		presently [There's panhandlers all over]
The remark of mine which seems to have distressed Bruce and others was
not intended to have any reference to the intricacies of negative
polarity items in English, but was a response to some comments which
seemed to suggest that there is something logically or cross-linguistically
odd about a linguistic form with this function. There isn't; it's
perfectly coherent semantically, and some other languages do have
similar constructions.
Scott DeLancey
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Message 2: RE: 2.663 Polite Names

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 91 12:17:11 -0700
From: Paul Saka <sakacogsci.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: RE: 2.663 Polite Names
	In response to Ellen Prince's request for intuitions about
the use of first names vs last names:
	I attended primary and secondary school in a working-
class suburb of Detroit in the 1970s. With only two exceptions,
the academic teachers used first names while the phys-ed teachers
used last names. This, together with the fact that drill instructors
apparently use last names, has always made me cringe when I hear
bare last names being used. It makes me think of regimentation,
militarization, and violence.
	I don't know how idiosyncratic this connotation is. On
the one hand, I've asked my peers about it -- even in high school
I was a budding linguist -- and they denied that last-naming had
any such connotations. Perhaps my being a C.O. is relevant -- one's
special interests and beliefs always cause one's idiolect to
vary in one way or another from "the norm". On the other hand,
I can't believe that last-naming, as practiced by coaches and
P.E. teachers, has anything to do with social distance: coaches
frequently had deeper and more intimate relationships with their
students than any of the other teachers had. I am still inclined
to think that speakers who use last names expect immediate,
unthinking obedience from their addressees.
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Message 3: Re: 2.663 Is Language Finite? Polite Forms

Date: Wed, 16 Oct 91 11:03:37 EDT
From: <cowanuunet.UU.NET>
Subject: Re: 2.663 Is Language Finite? Polite Forms
Ellen Prince <> writes:
> Michel Eytan has brought up a topic that has mystified me for several
> years--what young (and some not-so-young) americans mean by last-naming. I
> am particularly amazed that college students and up seem to be UNCOMFORTABLE
> being last-named by their instructors. I've been told that they've never in
> their life been last-named and it seems 'weird' to them.
(Reference point: I am 33, white, middle-class, ex-suburbanite Northeastern
U.S. native.)
Last name alone is very alien to me. I associate it with 1) Britons,
2) members of the military, 3) old-fashioned people. (No offense intended.)
In fact, even title+last name ("Mr. Jones") is rare in my speech. I live in
a world of almost total first names, even to business superiors. (I think
this is typical of computer professionals.) I basically have three address
patterns: first name alone (most people I know), title alone (people whose
name I do not know for whom I wish to show respect), and avoidance of
direct-address forms (everyone else).
--		...!uunet!cbmvax!snark!cowan
		e'osai ko sarji la lojban
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Message 4: `Literature' and oppression

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 91 18:41:41 EDT
From: <>
Subject: `Literature' and oppression
I thank Karen Christie for her lessons in the New Logic. Let me
abstract rules of inference from her statements:
 The argument that ASL does not have a literature sparks the
 memories of the argument that ASL could not be a 'true language'
 because it was not spoken.
	A reminds me of B
	B is false
	Therefore A is false
 Perhaps, it is about time that the term "literature" be re-defined
 in a broader, more unoppresive manner.
	Definition A has consequence B
	I do not like consequence B
	Therefore, definition A is oppressive
	Everyone is against oppression
	Therefore, definition A is invalid
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