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ADS-L Digest - 19 Jun 1998 to 20 Jun 1998 98-06-21 00:00:13
There are 10 messages totalling 307 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. plural's - a new development? (short reply to LONG repost) (2)
2. conversos (was: Melungeons)
3. seeking a verb for what a consultant does (4)
4. new term?
5. hooligan inglese
6. Everybody


Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 21:54:51 -0700
From: "A. Maberry"
Subject: Re: plural's - a new development? (short reply to LONG repost)

On the other hand, I saw something on a website not long ago which points
in a different direction, avoidance of " 's": "For brevities sake ..."
Does "brevity" have a plural? If so, why?

maberry[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]u.washington.edu

On Fri, 19 Jun 1998, A. Vine wrote:

> Larry Horn wrote:
> >In an
> > example from Melanie Misanchuk (which bears striking resemblance to
> > something I saw in a London pub quite recently):
> >
> > I once saw, on
> > a handwritten sign in a washroom, "Plea's flush the toilet".
> > Now *that's* serious.
> >
> > _plea's flush the toilet_! I maintain that some thought had to go into that
> > particular effort. It surely would have been much simpler to write
> > _please..._ wouldn't it? What rule was the author following when s/he wrote
> > that? Can it be put down to lack of education, confusion about the uses of
> > _'s_, or is the reason more profound than that? Perhaps the author was
> > attempting to produce *correct* English by using what s/he perceived as
> > *high-brow* literary orthography, and over-correcting in the process of
> > doing that? I still don't have answers to that central question - the
> > reason, as usual, probably depends on the individual.
> This looks remarkably like the makings of a folk etymology. If the writer of
> this sign has not seen the word written much (or doesn't remember exactly),
> might think, 'Well, it's like a plea, only I know there's an "s" sound at the
> end, so it's probably a plural. OK, here's how I would write a plural of
> "plea".' Pretty nifty.
> >
> > Finally, Tom Chase sounds the death knell for _'s_:
> >
> > "The apostrophe was introduced into English orthography rather late,
> > and seems to be dying out. The number of writers who can use it
> > confidently and correctly is declining; through the media of
> > advertising, signage, and so on we are constantly exposed to
> > "incorrect" uses (e.g., "Simpsons" rather than "Simpson's" in a
> > department store chain founded by Robert Simpson).
> This is sometimes due to the difficulty of securing a name legally. For
> example, the catalog merchant, Lands' End, had to spell the name as such in
> order to reserve it for legal use. I have worked for a company which had to
> misspell one of the words in the name just wind up with the initials desired.
> >
> > English is not alone in admitting of variants in the usage of
> > _'s_. French and German also suffer. There is a likelihood that
> > factors such as education, over-correction due to concern about
> > *correct* usage, history, *foreign-ness* of words and the fact that
> > certain words _don't look right_ without the _'s_ all play a
> > part. Personally, this process of change pretty much sums up for me
> > why I love languages so much - wouldn't the world be a much duller
> > place without the humble _'s_?
> >
> > Jonathan Swift Sales Executive Abbey Information Systems 1 Paper Mews
> > 330 High Street Dorking RH4 2TU
> I would also suggest that the Internet may be responsible for the
> of a number of annoying misspellings/miswritings. English is the most common
> language currently used, and many of the writers are not native and have not
> the umpty-ump number of spelling lessons many natives had to slog through.
> addition, based on the observations of some friends and family members who
> otherwise excellent spellers, some folks are not very good at typing and so
> forth a veritable plethora of typos in the course of point-making.
> I cannot be alone amongst this crowd in having a list of pet peeve
> misspellings/misuses I encounter with the greatest of frequency?
> Andrea