Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 17:03:21 -0400

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: FEEL (OF) [was "how good of"]

Ron's intuitions (hardly his examples!) are partly on the right track.

I had a Texas friend who asked me to 'taste of this' - not 'take a taste of

this' which is OK for me, but his use (like 'feel of this') is odd. I think

the 'volitional' interpretation goes too deep, and I'm not convinced this

belongs in the same ballpark at the 'good (of) a' discussion.

I had forgotten this certainly regional fact, but I'll check it out

further. Any other comments on it from others?


HOW GOOD (OF)--I can say it either way. "How good of a linguist is Dennis?"

is OK, but so is the sentence without the OF.

A similar question for me involes FEEL (OF), as in "Feel (of) this material,

Dennis!" I've given some thought to this, prompted by a freind who found FEEL

OF invariably weird.

For me, FEEL OF is possible, but it can only refer to actual (usually)

volitional (digito)tactile sensation, thus, I FELT OF THE KNIFEPOINT AGAINST

MY BACK would only be possible if I put my finger against the knife after

sensing it against my back. I guess one can FEEL OF something with one's

skin, too, but doesn't it have to be volitional or at least pleasurable?:

FEEL OF THIS WHIP, DENNIS! would not mean that I am threatening to strike

him--or even offering to strike him with his permission (e.g., on his bare

buttocks)--but only that I want him to put out his hand or perhaps a cheek

and stroke the whip gently. Well, now, what if Dennis enjoys being whipped?

FEEL OF THIS WHIP, DENNIS! still doesn't quite sound right, does it? Is the

key that FEEL OF requires rubbing, not striking? Are there

idiolectal/dialectal differences here?

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736