Date: Thu, 10 Nov 1994 20:53:04 -0800

From: Birrell Walsh birrell[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]WELL.SF.CA.US

Subject: Re: Freeway names

On Thu, 10 Nov 1994, Dan Alford wrote:

I'm intrigued: why didn't the *the* spread

with the corresponding word and item to just 350 miles north? Is this

part of some larger *DET-ARTICLE DROP* Bay Areal feature?

I am curious about the (related?) partitivized noun, which is growing in

unfortunate prominence:

First, the American "In the hospital" started giving way to "in


Then I started hearing "in studio" for "in the studio".

Then the idiom became "I'll get staff's input," rather than "the staff's


To my ear, hospital, staff and studio are being thus transformed into

partititve nouns - is that the right word? The kind like "butter" and

"water", for which units must have counters (a glass of, a stick of), and

the indefinite pronoun before does not indicate one unit, but one kind

("Perrier is a good water; Calistoga is a great water.")

Mayhap we have partitive freeways in Northern California. I mean,

"partitive freeway."