Thanks for your comment on my question about the may/might distinction.
Of course, asking about whether or not your lack of a distinction was
"dialect" or "solecism" was a bit of a joke--the lack of a distinction
seems to be widespread among educated speakers in the English-speaking
I have collected over the past twenty years numerous print
examples from well-educated people of sentences like,
"If he didn't have to run against Anderson as well as Nixon, Hubert
Humphrey may have been elected president of the United States." Despite
my years of sensitivity training as a linguist who knows that "barbaric"
is not an appropriate term to use to characterize linguistic change in
progress, and not withstanding my realization that all sorts of
supereducated folks make
no may/might distinction, such sentences still strike me as ludicrous and
I'm wondering if there is anyone else left on the planet (or at least on
this mailing list) who shares my linguistic prejudice--or even
understands the semantic difference between MAY and MIGHT in the example
Though I'm not a linguist, I share your view, which could
hardly be considered a prejudice. The semantic
distinction couldn't be clearer.