Thursday, 13 July 2017

Not open because we're closed

Via the Poke, with more examples there.

Raises a semantic question: is 'not-open' necessarily the same as 'closed'? Probably, but it's a distraction to think of other possible states...

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Sunday, 2 April 2017

improving the negative

This came through in the abstract of a linguistics (AmE) dissertation/(BrE) thesis:

The ungrammaticality can be improved by supplying the expression with a tense or a syntactic context.

I'm pretty sure that means that the expression seems more grammatical if it has supporting context, but 'improving ungrammaticality' seems a different thing. My impression is that this kind of

negative thing + positive growth = less negative
interpretation is more likely to happen in passive contexts ('ungrammaticality was improved' versus the active 'this improves ungrammaticality').

Language Log covers a lot of similar things with regularity.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Five years

"And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people"