> >2. As to the matter of language change, or differences of opinion as to
> >what is grammatical (eg, our prep + who/whom discussion) this gets a bit
> >more tricky. Certainly I say that these utterances occur with
> >regularity. But does that make them equally acceptable English in every
> >case with the 'more correct' forms? If I am teaching my students
> >academic English, I will warn them off such utterances, as they will be
> >view\ed as sub-standard and will hurt their mark most likely. Clearly
> >what occurs is not always what is acceptable.
> Fair enough, but that is just the point. The phrase "equally acceptable
> English in every case" is a chimera. It ain't no such animal, noplace,
Okay -- and being a Sydney-sider, fed on Hallidayan functional grammar
as my linguistic staple diet, I agree -- but that implies that we
should have asked for two more things on the prep+who/whom thread (but
let's let that one die!):
1. What was the frequency of the prep+ whom
vs what was the frequency of prep +who?
After all, if there were 1,000 of the former, but only 8 of the latter,
that would seem to tell us that the one is rather highly irregular, and
thus possibly to be put aside in the oddities basket. This is one of the
points Paul Hays was making in his post.
(Note please that I am not arguing to toss all unexpected or rare
results aside -- they
are interesting and often significant, but they may also be irregular.)
and, perhaps then heading more into specialist corpora,
2. What was the register of the source texts for the sentences in
question? And of course, then, what are the relative frequencies within
a corpus of that text-type?
(Of course if we always go that road, then we will find that we can
never say anything general about English, and that makes all our work
> This is fun. Let's do more of it.
I'm happy to, too!
> Carl Mills
> University of Cincinnati
-- Gordon Cain, Teacher of ESOL TAFE International Education Centre, Liverpool Sydney, Australia firstname.lastname@example.org