Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 02:21:03 -0500
From: SETH SKLAREY crissiet[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IPOF.FLA.NET
Subject: Re: No 'friend of yours'
To: Dennis, Kathleen, Tony & Larry and anyone else I missed when the
65 E-mail messages I received tonite blew out my memory. THANKS,
I agree with all of you.
The "friend" is a former friend. Not because I feel friends don't let
friends correct their grammar, but because I never have had time for
incorrect information. Ignorance is blitzed.
I have always believed that the English language is constantly changing &
evolving, and what is the rule today is the exception tomorrow, and commmon
usage thereafter until stilted, archaic, arcane and ancient. If it works,
if it is understood, if people accept it, then so be it.
My sister, who was a Phi Beta Kappa (they must have been desperate that year)
took great delight in correcting people. One of her favorites was:
"It's my forte," which she insisted was pronounced (fort) and not (fortay).
(Fortay) is an Italian musical term.
She had no friends.
For all those English teachers and preachers we've all had who took the rules
a bit too rigidly, may they look themselves in the mirror and say, to
"I've met the enemy and it's me."
Wittgenstein School of the Unwritten Word
Coconut Grove, Florida
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?