Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 08:57:24 -0500
From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: No 'friend of yours'
The 'friend of yours' who 'explained' that 'friends of mine' is 'redundant'
is a linguatwit and ought to be expunged from the list of 'friends of
yours.' I guess I might roll my eyes at 'my friends of mine' (but even
there I can imagine situations - with contrastive stress - which would make
that apparently redundant string perfectly OK).
But seriously, what us linguists ought to be doing with such metalinguistic
intrusions from nonlinguists is investigating them for the linguistic folk
belief they reveal. Here 'redundancy' is taken to be some sort of
proscribed language phenomenon, but every beginning linguistics student
(and certainly every information science student in general) knows that
built-in redundancy in a variety of systems is ordinary (and apprently
crucial). Where the folk and the scientists 'disagree' ought to strike us
as ground worthy of deepeer ethnographic investigation.
But I reckon that that may not surprise some of you that that is my opinion.
I often used the phrase "friends of mine" until an erudite friend
explained that "of mine" made the phrase redundant. I argued half-heartedly
that they could have been friends of someone else, but came to accept
the hypothesis and dropped the prepositional phrase. What say you all?