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I don't want to look stupid, but irregardless I want to know

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Postby Bailey » Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:34 pm

yes, Malachai, egregious used to be a good thing, now instead of just-out-of-the-herd it's outrageous, some things enrich some erode, you picked two some here think erode.
But, why not just go on, I know you have a lot to contribute being a Linguist and all so let's find some common ground.
No one here determines what will and won't be discussed but what was fun is getting old.

mark settlin'-in Bailey

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Postby sluggo » Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:28 pm

ahem...

We all have backgrounds in linguistics around these parts, Buster (and no qualifying level thereof exists, nor should it), so attempts at pulling rank will get you nowhere. Fast.

I can't help noticing that you continue to argue against terms (latest: "condemned") that were never raised by anyone but yourself.

Once I unwittingly let slip certain preferences on this topic, your entire tirade seems to have been focused on attacking my own basis of that preference. To paraphrase your own logic, that preference works for me because it makes sense to me, for reasons already deliniated literally ad nauseum. If such usage offends my sense of logic, you are not qualified to say that it does not. Thus you seem absolutely bent on disproving an opinion, which is impossible. At best, you seem to want me (and us, as I seem to have considerable company here) to say that a speaker can use such terms without identifying themselves -not the language- as careless and/or uninterested in thought. Well, forget it. Ain't gonna happen. Whether the listener hears it or not is up to them, but around here, we do.

I say: say what you mean. If you want to go around using expressions like that, be my jest. But it's not going to sound to my (our) ears like you have a clue what you're talking about. The choice is the speaker's and always has been.

If you're really interested in how these nonlogical terms come to the language, why don't you come up with a theory on why people say the opposite of what they mean, instead of denying it? That's the question that's really begged here.

That's the last I'll say on the subject, and I intend to keep my word.

Apologies if I spoke out of turn for any coAgoriacs.
Last edited by sluggo on Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Palewriter » Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:39 pm

I couldn't disagree more. I just haven't quite figured out yet who, or what, I disagree with. :P

And as for going postal.....no, hold the 'phone, that's a whole nuther thread....

-- PW
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Postby malachai » Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:01 pm

sluggo wrote:ahem...

We all have backgrounds in linguistics around these parts, Buster (and no qualifying level thereof exists, nor should it), so attempts at pulling rank will get you nowhere. Fast.


I just mentioned it so you know where I'm coming from, that's all!

I can't help noticing that you continue to argue against terms (latest: "condemned") that were never raised by anyone but yourself.


Some people here did condemn the terms under discussion, by saying that they were the product of laziness or language degeneration.

At best, you seem to want me (and us, as I seem to have considerable company here) to say that a speaker can use such terms without identifying themselves -not the language- as careless and/or uninterested in thought. Well, forget it. Ain't gonna happen. Whether the listener hears it or not is up to them, but around here, we do.


I think we're talking about quite different things. I'm not talking about whether a speaker is careless or uninterested in thought. I'm talking about how they use their unconscious knowledge of their language.

If you're really interested in how these nonlogical terms come to the language, why don't you come up with a theory on why people say the opposite of what they mean, instead of denying it? That's the question that's really begged here.


One of my whole points is that they're not saying the opposite of what they mean, they're saying the opposite of what some people think they should mean. And coming up with theories about why people say one thing and not another is one of the aims of linguistics.

I don't mind discussing this, but I'm done with having a mean-spirited argument. I really did not mean to offend anyone. Either you disagree with me, or maybe I'm not making my point clearly enough. Either way, maybe we can discuss things civilly.
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Postby Bailey » Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:28 pm

sluggo wrote:Apologies if I spoke out of turn for any coAgoriacs.

I'm not a Linguist. Just a person who likes words and knows how and in what order they sound right. And I think it should be Agoran, Agoriacs sounds off, but hey, as I said I'm no Linguist.
Malachi said
One of my whole points is that they're not saying the opposite of what they mean, they're saying the opposite of what some people think they should mean....I don't mind discussing this, but I'm done with having a mean-spirited argument.

That's exactly the point, folks who use those expressions ARE saying the exact opposite of what they think they are saying. And no one has been mean-spirited, no one, this is a friendly forum, if we get mean-spirited well it can get ugly, IOW 'you ain't seen mean-spirited yet.
as to your involvement, go stay, post more in other threads or in this one, it's up to you, but I'm betting you'll stay. I'm hoping you'll stay,

mark-way-off-but-not-postal(PW,lol) Bailey

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Postby malachai » Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:58 pm

Bailey wrote:That's exactly the point, folks who use those expressions ARE saying the exact opposite of what they think they are saying.


But if everyone in their speech community says it the same way, then everyone understands what it means, right? And its meaning is, for all purposes, what they intend it to mean.

When one of these speakers (speaker A) interacts with a speaker (B) from another speech community where they say something different, then confusion can result, sure. But it doesn't make sense to me to say that A or B is saying the opposite of what they think they're saying. They're clearly not. What is happening is that the A and B are speaking two different dialects.
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Postby sluggo » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:01 am

Bailey wrote:
sluggo wrote:Apologies if I spoke out of turn for any coAgoriacs.

I'm not a Linguist. Just a person who likes words and knows how and in what order they sound right. And I think it should be Agoran, Agoriacs sounds off...


Yeah Bail, as you know I like to twist words into shapes that I can be confident are wrong. Oops, I mean "off". But I dunno, Agoran sounds a bit StarTreky. Agoraphile? No, we obviously don't get out enough for that.... how 'bout parAgoric? :wink:
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Postby gailr » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:14 am

sluggo wrote:But I dunno, Agoran sounds a bit StarTreky.
Let's not make it so.

sluggo wrote:how 'bout parAgoric?
Is that anything like paralegal or paramedic?

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Postby sluggo » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:37 am

gailr wrote:
sluggo wrote:But I dunno, Agoran sounds a bit StarTreky.
Let's not make it so.

sluggo wrote:how 'bout parAgoric?
Is that anything like paralegal or paramedic?

-gailr
who needs to know if she should be getting a license or anything...


This thread may be in need of both, as well as paregoric.

Just a driver's license, if you're still aiming for that exit [extending thumb]
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Postby gailr » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:47 am

sluggo wrote:Just a driver's license, if you're still aiming for that exit [extending thumb]

Don't not panic.
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Postby Flaminius » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:58 am

I think the "-less" part of "irregardless" has lost its signification as a negative suffix for those who use this in sense of "regardless." (A side note: I sense in the standard English irregardless is not "regarding" or "in accordance with" but a non-existent word. The discomfort of those belonging to this speech community, therefore, may be that of being forced to hear a meaningless noise and still being capable of understanding it.) I would imagine, in certain vernaculars, "-regardless" part of "irregardless" has been reduced to a chunk of sound meaning "regarding." And this part stands to be negated by the prefix "ir-".

Does this mean that "less" suffix has lost its function in certain English varieties? If so, why? If the lost negative sense can be patched by the "ir-" (< in-) prefix, does that mean that the latter has a stronger power of negation, than the former? What kind of sociolinguistic factors, if any, motivate people to prefer "irregardless"? These questions are torches with which to look into the nature of language.

Lacking first-hand obervation, I can only resort to a loose relationship between phonology and semantics to account for the loss (or weakening) of negative force in "-less." When the word "regardless" is pronounced, "less" tends to weaken as it stands as the accentless last syllable of the word. If a component of a word has a weak phonological presence, its semantic presence may well be debilitated. "Irregardless," on the other hand, has an accent on the first syllable, which happens to bear negative force. No matter how it is deformed from other perspectives, "irregardless" is phonologically better at conveying the negative sense than "regardless."

Irregardless, I would like to be more enlightened on this topic. Malachai, any comments?

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IRREGARDLESS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:29 am

The reason irregardless (a speech error based on a blend of irrespective and regardless) is that Merriam-Webster now includes it. As I recently said in my blog, Merriam-Webster not only accepts whatever its editorial board hears on the street, it sweeps the gutters for new words.
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Postby sluggo » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:44 am

Thank you Flaminius for your thoughtful analysis. That's more like it.
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Postby Bailey » Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:40 am

sluggo wrote:Yeah Bail, as you know I like to twist words into shapes that I can be confident are wrong. Oops, I mean "off". But I dunno, Agoran sounds a bit StarTreky. Agoraphile? No, we obviously don't get out enough for that.... how 'bout parAgoric? :wink:

Well if you are feeling stopped, ok, but I 'd rather add grit to it maybe Agorian like the alpha-dog that I am.
As to Malachai's examples, the expert said it better than anyone.
Merriam-Webster not only accepts whatever its editorial board hears on the street, it sweeps the gutters for new words.

Are we verbal lemmings, all using incorrect grammar just because someone else wants us screeded off at their level. Wrong is wrong even if "everyone else does it, mom"


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Postby malachai » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:16 pm

Flaminus has somehow articulated everything I have been miserably failing to get across. (except I'm not sure that "irregardless" is meaningless noise to standard English speakers, since it is a standard word with a 1-syllable prefix.)

It's an interesting idea, that a weakened phonological component might have a weakened semantic component. Are you aware of any other examples, Flaminus?

My dictionary says "irregardless" is stressed on the third syllable, not the first. So the "ir" prefix has secondary stress, but still more stress than "less".

Alternatively, this is a case of overnegation. Like

"the most powerful person no one has never heard of."
"It is an opportunity -- unlike no other"
"No head injury is too trivial to ignore"

and many other examples
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7Emyl/langua ... 03179.html

Overnegation is either based on some sort of confusion about how many negatives to use, or else shows that negative concord is creeping into the standard language. Negative concord is standard in other kinds of English, for instance "I didn't do nothing", where the negation is spread across the clause. With "irregardless" it's spread across just one word, but still it's a possible explanation.
Last edited by malachai on Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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