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.

Dennis Preston

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?

Seth Sklarey