LINGUIST List 3.155

Wed 19 Feb 1992

Disc: -Ish, All's

Editor for this issue: <>


  • Richard Coates, Re: 3.140 -ish, Def
  • Eric Schiller, Re: 3.140 -ish, Def
  • Brian Teaman, Re: 3.131 Alls I know
  • , 3.131 Is, is

    Message 1: Re: 3.140 -ish, Def

    Date: Wed, 12 Feb 92 11:44:36 GMRe: 3.140 -ish, Def
    From: Richard Coates <>
    Subject: Re: 3.140 -ish, Def

    On -ish:

    In reply to Dick Hudson: my usage isn't restricted to time of day expressions; cf. middle-of-Septemberish, round about closing-timeish (well I suppose that's time of day), and I have caught myself using it in place expressions, e.g. sort of Eastbourne-ish, i.e. 'in the region of Eastbourne'. I take the point about the problem of formalizing the constraint, whatever it is.

    Richard Coates

    Message 2: Re: 3.140 -ish, Def

    Date: Thu, 13 Feb 92 23:25:48 CSRe: 3.140 -ish, Def
    From: Eric Schiller <>
    Subject: Re: 3.140 -ish, Def


    Maybe I am missing something, but I see no direct link to time phrases here, since age in years (he is twenty five-ish), color phrases (he is lime greenish), and other scalable items (How tall is he? Two point five-ish (of a British boxer or basketballer, on this side of the atlantic 6 foot nine-ish).

    Anyway, Sadock's Autolexical approach is one of many generative lexicalist approaches that can handle it without difficulty, simply invoking the semantic subcategorization facts. But I am not sure where the conceptual or practical problem lies for ANY theory I know.

    On the other hand, it is certainly a fun topic worthy of exploration at the dissertation level, whatever one's theoretical preference.

    I would agree with Hudson in one sense. I wonder how many generative linguists would be interested enough to invest the time to study the phenomenon, and can only hope the number is higher than I am inclined to guess.

    I keep a copy of the 1977 CLS Squibs volume in my bathroom, where it provides numerous similar challenges, some of which evolve into full fledged studies.

    Eric Schiller

    Message 3: Re: 3.131 Alls I know

    Date: Mon, 10 Feb 92 19:51:12 ESRe: 3.131 Alls I know
    From: Brian Teaman <>
    Subject: Re: 3.131 Alls I know

    "Alls I know" is one feature I have in my English that doesn't seem to be common on the East Coast. I must have acquired this in Lorain, Ohio (near Cleveland) where I grew up. Others have pointed out that it struck them as unusual. I think I can credit Peter Patrick for first pointing it out to me.

    As for the analysis "All as I know", alls I know is it might be a historical fact but it is not part of my understanding of the form. To me, it was always just "all" with an "s" attached. I absolutely cannot say the full form "as" in this context. And, until now, I don't think I ever wrote it down; perhaps this could be some indication that I recognized it as non-standard, or at least only a spoken form.

    Brian Teaman

    Message 4: 3.131 Is, is

    Date: Wed, 12 Feb 92 09:13:24 ES3.131 Is, is
    From: <elc9jprime.acc.Virginia.EDU>
    Subject: 3.131 Is, is

    on "all's I know is...": I had always heard that this was a dialect form of "all", retaining an -s originally derived from German "alles"-- no connection to the copula at all. Is it found outside of areas that were settled by German speakers? Ellen Contini-Morava