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

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Re: IRREGARDLESS

Postby malachai » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:26 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote: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.


This is what a dictionary should do, I think. Dictionaries are word stores that stock all the words in a language (imho). Not only the "best" words, or the "right" words, but all the words. So that speakers and writers can choose the words they want to use.

Dictionaries can mark certain words as nonstandard or colloquial of course, and it makes sense to do so. This is what the Merriam-Webster does with "irregardless".
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Re: IRREGARDLESS

Postby gailr » Fri Aug 11, 2006 4:18 pm

Good post, Flam!

Dr. Goodword wrote: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.
Thanks, Dr. Goodword. An Official Agency has spoken and thus I will accept that irregardless is a word, just as I accept that ketchup is a vegetable.
-gailr :D
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Summary and a wink...

Postby eberntson » Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:43 pm

Wow! I feel like a child that made a comment before going to bed and finds the grownups arguing at 5am about what I said. So let me see where we are in this discussion:

* Regardless is okay.
* Irregard is okay.
* Regardless is okay
* Irregardless is not okay, but where it is part of the dialect/vernacular speaking group it is acceptable.

And additional reasons it is not a word is that it is a double negative within the word, never had that in English class or've forgotten that rule. Although we weren’t allow to makeup our own words, we had to rely on pop culture and movies for new words. . . weren’t allowed to use contractions either that’s why there are so many now in my writing. Well that, and because Data cain’t us’em.

So, you shan’t use it because the person whom you are speaking too that might be from another dialectic group might not understand irregardless’ meaning. I’m quite sure you are mistaken about that because each time another person uses it around me I say, “ come now you know that’s not a word, but go ahead I know what you mean.” LOL :lol:

It’s not proper because it wasn’t in the dictionary until Webster put it in, but it’s not in the OED I presume. :wink:

Using it is a degeneration of the English language, because thankfully English is a generation of the Norman French & Germanic Saxon, which are respectively generations of Gaul & Latin, and Celtic & Germanic (?). I wonder what all those Saxon grandmothers thought about the new court-speak coming out of London? :oops:

Because if I don’t use it I will stand against the tide of stupidity, that are a bunch of yahoos who are going to jump in the lake, even on a hot day, because I’m a proper English school boy and will be whipped by Shakespeare when I get home. Oh sorry, by Samuel Johnson... :evil:

However, I can use it colloquially if I want to represent a uneducated stupid inexact speaking pratt. Goodness knows I ain’t one of them. :idea:

Okay I have had my fun...

Since my boss is always telling me if you are going to mentions a problem at least come with a solution too. I suggest that to balance the universe and go with popular convention we do what the Germans do, which is to use capitalization to help the confusion. We can be trendy, there are two possible solutions:

1) Since “irregardless” keeps showing up in the spell checker as WRONG, we could hyphenate. You know just like the correct way to spell e-mail or is it email now, I’m so confused. Now ir-regardless looks grand, except the draconian spell checker doesn’t recognize “ir”.

2) Or else, we could do what will provide a tribute to the Germanic root of English and use capitalization, but with an American twist, lets user camel-font and clear it up, such as IrRegardless.

The camel-font could actually be useful, by requiring every Standard English writer to have to capitalize the syllable that the correct emphasis/stress should be on. So in Standard English, to show I can be a conscious writer (and there by a thinking speaker), we would spell it properly as irregardLess. Nice! But what happens if I am of another dialectic group and were place the emphasis on another sylLable. I think the Germans wanting to simplify their capitalization is all wrong; they should increase it. And it would let folks sell new spell-checking software; "Now with CAMEL FONT spelling feature!" :roll:

Hey perhaps that explains why spelling before the dictionary varied so much in literature like The Green Knight or Cantebury Tales. Perhaps it is not bad spelling, but actually indicating a different emphasis or dialectic pronunciation, that was destroyed by the Johnson dictionary.

Okay I am really done now...

I did a Google search of the web, it’s what I do, and got some interesting numbers which are probably typical of the vernacular of the mainly middle-class folks that make up the American/British English writing & speaking population. 891K uses of “irregardless”, but this is less than <1% when compared to the 409M correct uses of “regardless”. This number at first glance might vindicate the “regardless” camp, but I propose, that lot’s of folks use spell checking on posts so this might be actually an artificially low number. I think it is amazing what a good job our teachers did in school to ingrain ‘irregardLess’ as incorrect.

So I am intrigued by “I could care less” (2.06M references), but in regard to this phase some implied subtlety has not been stated. This is a phrase of distain & sarcasm that in its tone people often include other signs of disregard in the phrase. So if we perhaps consider the colloquial intent of “i couldn't care less" (871K) we can justify the bad grammar, because it is intentional whether it is based on conscious intent or is just habitual.

I also checked “i could not care less" which came up with 78.2K references. So basically "i couldn't/not care less" makes up 46% of the references, perhaps not enough to win the popular vote, but enough to make it a legitimate phrase in the English language. Think about this, if marketing group could get 46% of any market, they would be considered a dominant force in that sector. Also it is a phrase aren't rules governing a little more lax?

I’m sure you couldn’t care less, but email vs e-mail is 6.39M vs 10.3M, and gray vs grey is 298M v 199M. Some spell checkers do not accept one version of grey or the other. Looks like Microsoft Word are surely influencing the development of English & perhaps retarding it.

I hope you take my comments in the amused way they are intended. :? I do appreciate everyone’s comments, bickering, and expertise; nothing like a long threat that stays on topic.


Eric

WEB-
861,000 for irregardless
409,000,000 for regardless
2,060,000 for "i could care less"
871,000 for "i couldn't care less".
78,200 for "i could not care less".
6,390,000,000 for email
10,290,000,000 for e-mail
298,000,000 for gray
199,000,000 for grey
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Postby Bailey » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:38 pm

I was thinking that possibly irregardless is hypercorrection, which doesn't let the ignorant off the hook.
'Could care less' reminds me of hot water heater....
I call it a water heater since someone pointed out to me that if I had hot water why would I then heat it?

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Last edited by Bailey on Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby malachai » Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:01 pm

Bailey wrote:I was thinking that possibly irregardless is hypercorrection, which doesn't let the ignorant offer the hook.
'Could care less' reminds me of hot water heater....
I call it a water heater since someone pointed out to me that if I had hot water why would I then heat it?


I love expressions like "hot water heater" (and "irregardless") because they're examples of redundancy.
Redundancy is why we say "he goes" when we could in theory say "he go". Why adjectives in many languages have to agree with nouns. And why people say the same thing twice but in different ways, for instance saying "ridiculous and unnecessary" instead of just "ridiculous".

Language need redundancy to work. Background noise means that information can be lost in conversation, but redundancy can ensure that the meaning is still conveyed. (Terence Deacon argues that a high degree of redundancy was necessary to teach chimpanzees words
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/language ... 00453.html)

Let me be clear. I'm not making any claim about whether "hot water heater" or similar phrases are correct, or whether you need to accept them or like them. I'm just saying that such phrases represent a normal language phenomenon imo.
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so what you're say...

Postby eberntson » Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:40 pm

If "hot water heater" is redunancy, that makes "unthaw" still a bad word right? But the line "A dark & stormy night..." is redundancy, so I'm gaining ground here? I can have a lot of fun with this...

So you're saying this is similare to rice paddy, head chef, rio grande river, hailstone, river Avon, Paraguay River, Sahara Desert, etc..

Are there other words that are not nouns that are like "irregardless"?

Eric

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EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
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Postby skinem » Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:12 pm

Wow, eberntson, you do say much very often, but when you do it's worth reading! See what happens when you go away for awhile?
I thoroughly enjoyed it--I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks!

The first redundancy I thought of was one that I often hear or see in the media--"untimely death". Do you know many that are? While I can think of a few in history that were, most aren't timely!
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Postby Bailey » Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:39 pm

Chief Chimp here, sounds like a plan E....unthaw is one of my peevish pets, It makes my skin crawl like unravel/ravel.

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Postby malachai » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:15 pm

I've never heard "unthaw" before. However "unravel"

1a. To undo or ravel the knitted fabric of. b. To separate (entangled threads). 2. To separate and clarify the elements of (something mysterious or baffling); solve.


and ravel...

1. To separate the fibers or threads of (cloth, for example); unravel. 2. To clarify by separating the aspects of. 3. To tangle or complicate.


It means the same as "unravel", and it means the opposite! That's cool.

eberntson, you're on the right track. But I'm not sure if place names qualify; both elements seem necessary to the meaning - you can have the town of Avon, and Sahara camels, and the country of Paraguay, for instance. I'm not sure.

As for redundancies that aren't nouns... ask a question, absolutely necessary, aid and abet, cease and desist, close proximity.
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Postby Bailey » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:56 pm

Verb 1. unthaw - become or cause to become soft or liquid; "The sun melted the ice"; "the ice thawed"; "the ice cream melted"; "The heat melted the wax"; "The giant iceberg dissolved over the years during the global warming phase"; "dethaw the meat"
dethaw, thaw, unfreeze, melt, dissolve
deliquesce - melt or become liquid by absorbig moisture from the air; "this type of salt deliquesces easily"
de-ice, defrost, deice - make or become free of frost or ice; "Defrost the car window"
flux, liquify, liquefy - become liquid or fluid when heated; "the frozen fat liquefied"


but it is meaningless because it is redundant, it becomes a double [negative?] or positive?

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Postby Perry » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:11 pm

Speaking of redundancies, will this thread never play itself out? The more it gets ravelled, the more I am getting riled up.

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Postby Palewriter » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:13 pm

Do I want to get into this?

Nope.


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Postby malachai » Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:18 pm

"unloose" means "loosen" (for some speakers)
"undecipher" means "decipher" (for some speakers)

And this is very interesting, but it also hurts my head:

"They had only just moved in; their boxes lay on the kitchen floor, still unpacked."

This means that the boxes were not yet unpacked.

"Do you still have unpacked boxes in your basement, waiting to be unpacked?"
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Postby malachai » Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:57 am

I have heard unthaw before! I have a friend who uses it, but I never noticed it until now.

I think "un" here doesn't mean negation, it means something more like "undo what was done" or "reverse a process". So if my friend is preparing frozen vegetables, "thaw" isn't good enough, she needs something that expresses that she is reversing the process that has been applied to the vegetables: "I have to unthaw them."

In fact she never says "thaw" alone, she always says either "unthaw" or "thaw out".

The same rule might apply to other "un" words like "unravel" and "undecipher".

But "still unpacked" meaning "not yet unpacked" is something else. That seems to be a case of covert overnegation.
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Postby Bailey » Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:13 pm

unthaw just simply makes no sense. to "undo what's been done", what's been done was freezing, thawing, thaw (or even thawing out if one MUST emphasize the pressing need) is the only thing that does make sense.
MO and ISTI.

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