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
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu