Discussion:
less vs fewer
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m***@gmail.com
2019-11-06 18:43:51 UTC
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Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?

Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
Ken Blake
2019-11-06 20:24:35 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language evolving.
--
Ken
HVS
2019-11-07 00:01:42 UTC
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Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.

Yup.

I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which might
suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such things have
started to normalise this one.

(Or maybe I'm just getting too old to bother getting agitated about
stuff that, when all is said and done, really doesn't matter very
much at all.)

Cheers, Harvey
Tony Cooper
2019-11-07 03:04:50 UTC
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On Thu, 07 Nov 2019 00:01:42 +0000, HVS
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.
Yup.
I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which might
suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such things have
started to normalise this one.
Write it here, and there will be a chorus of Oy!s. Say it anywhere
else, and less people will notice.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Kerr-Mudd,John
2019-11-07 09:35:44 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
On Thu, 07 Nov 2019 00:01:42 +0000, HVS
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.
Yup.
I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which might
suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such things have
started to normalise this one.
Write it here, and there will be a chorus of Oy!s. Say it anywhere
else, and less people will notice.
Corect usage is ocuring on fewer ocasions. And speling with double leters
is also geting bader.

Let's all give up right now.
--
Bah, and indeed, Humbug.
m***@gmail.com
2019-11-07 13:53:17 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.
Yup.
I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which might
suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such things have
started to normalise this one.
(Or maybe I'm just getting too old to bother getting agitated about
stuff that, when all is said and done, really doesn't matter very
much at all.)
Cheers, Harvey
I know. In the grand scheme of things with polar icecaps melting and people starving to death despite surpluses of food in other parts of the world and countries still going to war- what does grammar matter :-(
Madhu
2019-11-07 13:58:52 UTC
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[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by HVS
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by HVS
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.
In India we call it development and progress. If you're not in you're
dead.
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by HVS
Yup.
I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which might
suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such things have
started to normalise this one.
(Or maybe I'm just getting too old to bother getting agitated about
stuff that, when all is said and done, really doesn't matter very
much at all.)
I know. In the grand scheme of things with polar icecaps melting and
people starving to death despite surpluses of food in other parts of
the world and countries still going to war- what does grammar matter
On the contrary ("how can you talk to someone who keeps saying `au
contraire'") it becomes supremely important on the face of those things!
Spains Harden
2019-11-07 16:18:48 UTC
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Post by Madhu
[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE. I have a memory that Bob Dylan
legitimized the incorrect version by writing:

"Lay lady lay
Lay across my big brass bed".
Quinn C
2019-11-07 17:57:21 UTC
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Post by Spains Harden
Post by Madhu
[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE. I have a memory that Bob Dylan
"Lay lady lay
Lay across my big brass bed".
It's generally considered a lost cause. Maybe because of the other
meaning of "lie"?

I'll be one of those dinosaurs who continues to distinguish, but in my
case, simply because the distinction is quite alive in German (liegen -
legen.)
--
... while there are people who are consecrated, chronic
assholes--like Donald Trump for example, or General Patton--
it's a condition that all of us are liable to.
-- Geoffrey Nunberg, 2012 interview
John Varela
2019-11-07 21:05:12 UTC
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On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 16:18:48 UTC, Spains Harden
Post by Spains Harden
Post by Madhu
[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE. I have a memory that Bob Dylan
"Lay lady lay
Lay across my big brass bed".
You mean that's not a pun?
--
John Varela
Peter Moylan
2019-11-08 01:41:57 UTC
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Post by John Varela
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 16:18:48 UTC, Spains Harden
Post by Spains Harden
Post by Madhu
On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 13:24:35 -0700, Ken Blake
[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount)
become as much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE. I have a memory that Bob Dylan
"Lay lady lay Lay across my big brass bed".
You mean that's not a pun?
At the time I had images of her leaving eggs on the bed.

Back in those days schools still taught the difference between
transitive and intransitive verbs. I suspect that this has since
disappeared from the syllabus.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-08 15:36:31 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by John Varela
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 16:18:48 UTC, Spains Harden
Post by Spains Harden
"Lay lady lay Lay across my big brass bed".
You mean that's not a pun?
At the time I had images of her leaving eggs on the bed.
Back in those days schools still taught the difference between
transitive and intransitive verbs. I suspect that this has since
disappeared from the syllabus.
Which doesn't have much to do with the fact that the forms of the two
verbs "lie" and "lay" are badly interwoven -- inextricably, for some.

Do you have other examples of transitivity being involved in confusion?
Sam Plusnet
2019-11-08 01:44:00 UTC
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Post by John Varela
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 16:18:48 UTC, Spains Harden
Post by Spains Harden
Post by Madhu
[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE. I have a memory that Bob Dylan
"Lay lady lay
Lay across my big brass bed".
You mean that's not a pun?
Dylan may have written Lay lady lay", but Simon & Garfunkle wrote

"Lie la lie, lie la la la lie lie
Lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la la lie"

You pays your money you take your choice.
--
Sam Plusnet
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2019-11-08 07:11:07 UTC
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Post by John Varela
On Thu, 7 Nov 2019 16:18:48 UTC, Spains Harden
Post by Spains Harden
Post by Madhu
[chevrons restored (maybe incorrectly)]
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE.
Bear in mind that this is 'Arrison (even if he's trying to hide under a
different fake name now). Occasionally while flailing around looking
for something silly to say he falls accidentally on something correct.
This is not one of those occasions (unless "my BrE" refers to something
different from normal educated British English).
Post by John Varela
Post by Spains Harden
I have a memory that Bob Dylan
"Lay lady lay
Lay across my big brass bed".
You mean that's not a pun?
--
athel
Joy Beeson
2019-11-09 00:09:02 UTC
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Post by John Varela
Post by Spains Harden
"Lay lady lay
Lay across my big brass bed".
You mean that's not a pun?
Not a pun, a double entendre.
--
Joy Beeson, U.S.A., mostly central Hoosier,
some Northern Indiana, Upstate New York, Florida, and Hawaii
joy beeson at comcast dot net http://wlweather.net/PAGEJOY/
The above message is a Usenet post.
I don't recall having given anyone permission to use it on a Web site.
s***@gmail.com
2019-11-07 23:43:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Spains Harden
Post by Madhu
I wasn't aware of lie vs. lay is there an example
There is no distinction in my BrE.
and then ...
Post by Spains Harden
I have a memory that Bob Dylan
/dps
HVS
2019-11-07 15:25:57 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 13:24:35 -0700, Ken Blake
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.
Yup.
I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which
might suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such
things have started to normalise this one.
(Or maybe I'm just getting too old to bother getting agitated
about stuff that, when all is said and done, really doesn't
matter very much at all.)
Cheers, Harvey
I know. In the grand scheme of things with polar icecaps melting
and people starving to death despite surpluses of food in other
parts of the world and countries still going to war- what does
grammar matter :-(
I know what you mean, but I actually wasn't being as apocalyptic as
that!

Most everyday spoken and written Englsih interactions and
conversations aim simply at being understood.

People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and in
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words -- disinterested,
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).

But the meanings of most commonly-noticed "errors" are unambiguous:
nobody's going to convince me that they actually have trouble
understanding the intended meaning of "apple's for sale", or "10
items or less".

And WAISAD, it's my view that becoming agitated by someone using
"less" to mean "fewer", or by the erroneous placing of an apostrophe,
isn't worth the bother. (Admittedly, this view may reflect the fact
-- you can take my word for this -- that getting upset or angry
doesn't play nicely at all with tremor-dominant Parkinison's.)
--
Cheers, Harvey
CanEng (30 yrs) and BrEng (36 yrs),
indiscriminately mixed
occam
2019-11-12 15:03:25 UTC
Reply
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Post by HVS
Post by m***@gmail.com
On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 13:24:35 -0700, Ken Blake
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as
much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Post by Ken Blake
Post by m***@gmail.com
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
It's a lost cause, and therefore an example of the language
evolving.
Yup.
I've begun - sometimes - not even to notice the misuse, which
might suggest that even those of us who pay attention to such
things have started to normalise this one.
(Or maybe I'm just getting too old to bother getting agitated
about stuff that, when all is said and done, really doesn't
matter very much at all.)
Cheers, Harvey
I know. In the grand scheme of things with polar icecaps melting
and people starving to death despite surpluses of food in other
parts of the world and countries still going to war- what does
grammar matter :-(
I know what you mean, but I actually wasn't being as apocalyptic as
that!
Most everyday spoken and written Englsih interactions and
conversations aim simply at being understood.
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and in
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words -- disinterested,
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
Post by HVS
nobody's going to convince me that they actually have trouble
understanding the intended meaning of "apple's for sale", or "10
items or less".
Peter Moylan
2019-11-12 15:43:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and
in my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words --
disinterested, fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
I think I used "moot" just the other day. It's a useful word, and I'm
not yet willing to surrender it.

Some of us find "disinterested" to be a useful word. How else would you
describe the requirement that a stakeholder be a disinterested person?
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
HVS
2019-11-12 17:16:48 UTC
Reply
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On Wed, 13 Nov 2019 02:43:43 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and
in my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words --
disinterested, fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
I think I used "moot" just the other day. It's a useful word, and I'm
not yet willing to surrender it.
It's very useful, but one must keep in mind that there are people out
there who will assume you're being dismissive, as they think a "moot
point" is one which is "trivial/inconsequential/irrelevant".
Post by Peter Moylan
Some of us find "disinterested" to be a useful word. How else would you
describe the requirement that a stakeholder be a disinterested
person?

It's a very useful term, but again may be misunderstood when used
with that sense.

Cheers, Harvey
HVS
2019-11-12 17:07:07 UTC
Reply
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-snip -
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and in
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words --
disinterested,
Post by occam
Post by HVS
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
It may be a pondial thing, but some years ago I unintentionally upset
someone l when I used it to mean "debatable/arguable", and they'd
clearly only ever heard it to mean "trivial/inconsequential".

Cheers, Harvey
Tony Cooper
2019-11-12 19:31:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Nov 2019 17:07:07 +0000, HVS
Post by HVS
-snip -
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and
in
Post by occam
Post by HVS
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words --
disinterested,
Post by occam
Post by HVS
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
It may be a pondial thing, but some years ago I unintentionally upset
someone l when I used it to mean "debatable/arguable", and they'd
clearly only ever heard it to mean "trivial/inconsequential".
That was the word that brought me to a.u.e. I was posting in another
newsgroup when "moot" was used "arguable" and I said it was also used
to mean "trivial/inconsequential". The person said "No, it isn't."

I came here for verification that it's used both ways. "That's a moot
point" is a very ambiguous statement. Context does not always explain
the intended meaning.

I assume, now, that PTD will permanently consider the word skunked
because - otherwise - I might not be here to correct his boners.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Richard Heathfield
2019-11-12 19:58:57 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
On Tue, 12 Nov 2019 17:07:07 +0000, HVS
Post by HVS
-snip -
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and
in
Post by occam
Post by HVS
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words --
disinterested,
Post by occam
Post by HVS
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
It may be a pondial thing, but some years ago I unintentionally upset
someone l when I used it to mean "debatable/arguable", and they'd
clearly only ever heard it to mean "trivial/inconsequential".
That was the word that brought me to a.u.e. I was posting in another
newsgroup when "moot" was used "arguable" and I said it was also used
to mean "trivial/inconsequential". The person said "No, it isn't."
I came here for verification that it's used both ways. "That's a moot
point" is a very ambiguous statement. Context does not always explain
the intended meaning.
The sense that always springs to mind when I see "moot" being used
adjectivally (for "moot" can of course also be a verb or a noun) is that
of irrelevance. Here's a horribly contrived example:

Alice: If we drive to the restaurant, one of us will have to stay on
orange juice. I'd rather we took a cab.
Bob (switching off the local radio news): It's a moot point, because the
restaurant just burned down.
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Ian Jackson
2019-11-12 20:15:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tony Cooper
On Tue, 12 Nov 2019 17:07:07 +0000, HVS
Post by HVS
-snip -
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and
in
Post by occam
Post by HVS
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words --
disinterested,
Post by occam
Post by HVS
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
It may be a pondial thing, but some years ago I unintentionally upset
someone l when I used it to mean "debatable/arguable", and they'd
clearly only ever heard it to mean "trivial/inconsequential".
That was the word that brought me to a.u.e. I was posting in another
newsgroup when "moot" was used "arguable" and I said it was also used
to mean "trivial/inconsequential". The person said "No, it isn't."
I came here for verification that it's used both ways. "That's a moot
point" is a very ambiguous statement. Context does not always explain
the intended meaning.
I assume, now, that PTD will permanently consider the word skunked
because - otherwise - I might not be here to correct his boners.
To me (BrE), "moot" has always meant arguable, debatable, undecided etc.
I've assumed it originates from the Anglo-Saxon Moot Hall (something I
learned about in primary school, nearly 70 years ago), and was a
debating chamber where important decisions were discussed and decided.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moot_hall
I guess the BrE use relates to the discussion, while the AmE relates to
the discussion having ended, and a conclusion reached.
--
Ian
Quinn C
2019-11-12 17:31:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and in
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words -- disinterested,
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
I don't remember ever encountering it in the meaning "open to
discussion", even though it's M-W sense 1.

Although that begs the question whether I've misinterpreted some usages
I've encountered.
--
If this guy wants to fight with weapons, I've got it covered
from A to Z. From axe to... zee other axe.
-- Buffy s05e03
Tony Cooper
2019-11-12 19:33:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:31:58 -0500, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and in
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words -- disinterested,
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
I don't remember ever encountering it in the meaning "open to
discussion", even though it's M-W sense 1.
Lawyers-in-training in the US participate in "Moot Court".
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-12 20:18:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Post by occam
Post by HVS
People who hang out in an English-usage discussion group will
inevitably notice usage, spelling, and grammatical solecisms (and in
my case, find themselves abandoning skunked words -- disinterested,
fulsome, and moot spring to mind).
"Moot" is a "skunked" word? It is a thoroughly fulsome word in legal
circles, even for disinterested parties.
I don't remember ever encountering it in the meaning "open to
discussion", even though it's M-W sense 1.
Which means it is the _earliest_ attested sense. It survives in "Moot
Court," an exercise where law students get to play at being lawyers,
and in "that topic was mooted about."
Post by Quinn C
Although that begs the question whether I've misinterpreted some usages
I've encountered.
In American parliamentary procedure, it means that the question has been
overtaken by events and should be removed from the court's docket. For
instance, Mulvaney's various attempts to fight the Congressional subpoenas
are moot because the subpoena has been withdrawn, and also he says he'll
do what Trump tells him to. (The other day Trump said he _wants_ Mulvaney
to testify. That is probably no longer operative.)

RH Draney
2019-11-07 06:58:31 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who knows whether the Japanese
are having trouble with "ikura" vs "ikutsu"....r
Quinn C
2019-11-07 17:54:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by RH Draney
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who knows whether the Japanese
are having trouble with "ikura" vs "ikutsu"....r
I never noticed any mistakes of the kind.

It may be clearer because the -tsu part is recognizable as a "counter".
So "ikutsu" is more like "how many pieces" than just "how many". One
often asks using other counters, e.g. nannin, nanmai, nambiki ... (I've
seen "ikunin" but it's rare.)
--
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against
his government.
-- Edward Abbey
Ian Jackson
2019-11-07 22:34:45 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
--
Ian
s***@gmail.com
2019-11-07 23:45:19 UTC
Reply
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Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.

What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.

/dps
occam
2019-11-08 06:52:09 UTC
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Permalink
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'. When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
HVS
2019-11-08 12:47:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by s***@gmail.com
In message
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'.
I disagree. The difference in meaning in almost all - not all, but
almost all - cases where "less" is used instead of "fewer" is
negligible, and instances where it creates true ambiguity are even
rarer.

Cheers, Harvey
Ian Jackson
2019-11-08 20:18:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by occam
On Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 2:35:14 PM UTC-8, Ian Jackson
In message
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become
as much
Post by occam
Post by m***@gmail.com
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and
Post by occam
'fewer'.
I disagree. The difference in meaning in almost all - not all, but
almost all - cases where "less" is used instead of "fewer" is
negligible, and instances where it creates true ambiguity are even
rarer.
Cheers, Harvey
I think that all the other languages I know a bit about don't
distinguish between "less" and "fewer".

I also think that they also have fewer words than English - presumably
because English has drawn its vocabulary from a variety of sources. As a
result, we sometimes have a fair selection of alternatives to use for
the same thing. Some words are absolute direct equivalents, and are
interchangeable. Others are near-equivalents, but depending on the
circumstances and context, we tend to use a particular one and not the
others. "Less" and "few" are typical examples of words which usually
mean exactly the same thing - but to some ears, one of them is often
simply 'wrong'.
--
Ian
RH Draney
2019-11-09 10:33:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by HVS
I disagree.  There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and
'fewer'.
I disagree. The difference in meaning in almost all - not all, but
almost all - cases where "less" is used instead of "fewer" is
negligible, and instances where it creates true ambiguity are even rarer.
Cheers, Harvey
I think that all the other languages I know a bit about don't
distinguish between "less" and "fewer".
I also think that they also have fewer words than English - presumably
because English has drawn its vocabulary from a variety of sources. As a
result, we sometimes have a fair selection of alternatives to use for
the same thing. Some words are absolute direct equivalents, and are
interchangeable. Others are near-equivalents, but depending on the
circumstances and context, we tend to use a particular one and not the
others. "Less" and "few" are typical examples of words which usually
mean exactly the same thing - but to some ears, one of them is often
simply 'wrong'.
The problem seems to come from the fact that "more" and "most" are the
comparative and superlative respectively of both "much" and "many", but
that their opposites "little" and "few" have distinct forms...someone
needs an opposite of "more" and finds that "less" qualifies, overlooking
the fact that "fewer" fits the requirement as well in other senses....r
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-08 15:38:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
occam
2019-11-08 19:07:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?

"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")

"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-08 19:33:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's because they are used differently. The meaning is the same.
occam
2019-11-09 08:39:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's because they are used differently. The meaning is the same.
Doesn't the fact that they are used differently - even if "their meaning
is the same" - point to the necessity for the distiction (as
demonstrated by the many examples here)?

'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.

So Daniels, whose side are you arguing for? The hoi polloi or the person
who cares about linguistic details?
RH Draney
2019-11-09 10:37:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I just got through copying all my DVDs of the TV series "Get Smart"...on
the discs, along with the programs, are a treasure trove of "special
features", one of which is a set of production memos from the network
(originally NBC but CBS in season five) describing changes they wanted
made to each episode or cautions that must be observed, such as "on page
six, the nurse's uniform must not reveal too much cleavage; also, Max
must remain within network standards of propriety when he takes away her
gun"....

Throughout, every time a character uses a form of the word "idiot", the
network insisted it be removed or replaced with another word so as not
to upset the mental health community....r
occam
2019-11-09 13:11:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by RH Draney
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I just got through copying all my DVDs of the TV series "Get Smart"...on
the discs, along with the programs, are a treasure trove of "special
features", one of which is a set of production memos from the network
(originally NBC but CBS in season five) describing changes they wanted
made to each episode or cautions that must be observed, such as "on page
six, the nurse's uniform must not reveal too much cleavage; also, Max
must remain within network standards of propriety when he takes away her
gun"....
Throughout, every time a character uses a form of the word "idiot", the
network insisted it be removed or replaced with another word so as not
to upset the mental health community....r
And that word was... ? Not imbecile, I bet.
Sam Plusnet
2019-11-09 20:36:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by RH Draney
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I just got through copying all my DVDs of the TV series "Get Smart"...on
the discs, along with the programs, are a treasure trove of "special
features", one of which is a set of production memos from the network
(originally NBC but CBS in season five) describing changes they wanted
made to each episode or cautions that must be observed, such as "on page
six, the nurse's uniform must not reveal too much cleavage; also, Max
must remain within network standards of propriety when he takes away her
gun"....
Throughout, every time a character uses a form of the word "idiot", the
network insisted it be removed or replaced with another word so as not
to upset the mental health community....r
And that word was... ? Not imbecile, I bet.
In that context, I'd go with

"You network executive!"
--
Sam Plusnet
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-09 15:29:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by RH Draney
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I just got through copying all my DVDs of the TV series "Get Smart"...on
the discs, along with the programs, are a treasure trove of "special
features", one of which is a set of production memos from the network
(originally NBC but CBS in season five) describing changes they wanted
made to each episode or cautions that must be observed, such as "on page
six, the nurse's uniform must not reveal too much cleavage; also, Max
must remain within network standards of propriety when he takes away her
gun"....
Throughout, every time a character uses a form of the word "idiot", the
network insisted it be removed or replaced with another word so as not
to upset the mental health community....r
Still, more than 50 years ago?

Or is it the same as DK asking people not to use those now-derogatory
words precisely because they are _all_ derogatory.
David Kleinecke
2019-11-10 00:06:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by RH Draney
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I just got through copying all my DVDs of the TV series "Get Smart"...on
the discs, along with the programs, are a treasure trove of "special
features", one of which is a set of production memos from the network
(originally NBC but CBS in season five) describing changes they wanted
made to each episode or cautions that must be observed, such as "on page
six, the nurse's uniform must not reveal too much cleavage; also, Max
must remain within network standards of propriety when he takes away her
gun"....
Throughout, every time a character uses a form of the word "idiot", the
network insisted it be removed or replaced with another word so as not
to upset the mental health community....r
Still, more than 50 years ago?
Or is it the same as DK asking people not to use those now-derogatory
words precisely because they are _all_ derogatory.
Thanks, Peter.

The use of "idiot" for the developmentally disabled (or whatever the
current PC term is) is now so rare it is now safe to use for
generalized abuse. Likewise "imbecile" and "moron". The chief current
disparaging word today is "retard". "Mongolian" is so obsolete people
are surprised to learn it ever was a putdown. (But I can remember.)
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-10 19:57:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by RH Draney
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I just got through copying all my DVDs of the TV series "Get Smart"...
Throughout, every time a character uses a form of the word "idiot", the
network insisted it be removed or replaced with another word so as not
to upset the mental health community....r
Still, more than 50 years ago?
Or is it the same as DK asking people not to use those now-derogatory
words precisely because they are _all_ derogatory.
Thanks, Peter.
The use of "idiot" for the developmentally disabled (or whatever the
current PC term is) is now so rare it is now safe to use for
generalized abuse. Likewise "imbecile" and "moron". The chief current
disparaging word today is "retard". "Mongolian" is so obsolete people
are surprised to learn it ever was a putdown. (But I can remember.)
Mongoloid idiot

(because people with Down Syndrome often have the eye shape characteristic
of East Asian genotypes)
Rich Ulrich
2019-11-10 07:22:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
--
Rich Ulrich
occam
2019-11-10 08:04:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a large
role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to differentiate
between idiots, imbeciles and morons.

Note that those three terms were part of the professionals everyday
jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were not e.g.
birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin, dim bulb,
dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard,
dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead,
fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead,
jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome
[archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod, nincompoop, ninny, nit
[chiefly British], nitwit, noodle, numskull (or numbskull). The point?
They [idiot, imbecile and moron] were NOT dropped because there was no
longer a need to differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed
political correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2019-11-10 12:24:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a large
role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to differentiate
between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals everyday
jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were not e.g.
birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin, dim bulb,
dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard,
dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead,
fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead,
jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome
[archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod, nincompoop, ninny, nit
[chiefly British], nitwit, noodle, numskull (or numbskull). The point?
They [idiot, imbecile and moron] were NOT dropped because there was no
longer a need to differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed
political correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
I wouldn't describe that as political correctness.

The words idiot, imbecile and moron have moved into non-technical
everyday language to such an extent as derogatory terms that technical
use of them would be misunderstood by non-professionals.

Similarly the medical term "spastic" has been removed from use because
it has become derogatory.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spastic

UK and Ireland

The medical term "spastic" came into use to describe cerebral
palsy. The Scottish Council for the Care of Spastics was founded
in 1946, and the Spastics Society, an English charity for people
with cerebral palsy, was founded in 1951. However, the word began to
be used as an insult and became a term of abuse used to imply
stupidity or physical ineptness: one who is uncoordinated or
incompetent, or a fool. It was often colloquially abbreviated to
shorter forms such as "spaz".

Although the word has a much longer history, its derogatory use grew
considerably in the 1980s and this is sometimes attributed to the
BBC children's TV show Blue Peter;[*] during the International Year
of Disabled Persons (1981), several episodes of Blue Peter featured
a man named Joey Deacon with cerebral palsy (described as a
"spastic"). Phrases such as "joey", "deacon", and "spaz" became
widely used insults amongst children at that time.

In 1994, the same year that Conservative MP Terry Dicks referred to
himself in a House of Commons debate as "a spastic with cerebral
palsy", the Spastics Society changed its name to Scope. The word
"spastic" has been largely erased from popular English usage and is
deemed unacceptable to use outside of specific medical contexts,
thus reducing stigmatisation of the condition. However, UK
schoolchildren allegedly developed a derogatory adaptation of the
Spastic Society's new name, "scoper". The current understanding of
the word is well-illustrated by a BBC survey in 2003, which found
that "spastic" was the second most offensive term in the UK relating
to anyone with a disability (retard was deemed most offensive in the
US and other countries). In 2007, Lynne Murphy, a linguist at the
University of Sussex, described the term as being "one of the most
taboo insults to a British ear".

[*] The TV show Blue Peter used "spastic" solely in its medical sense.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-10 20:24:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a large
role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to differentiate
between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals everyday
jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were not e.g.
birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin, dim bulb,
dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard,
dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead,
fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead,
jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome
[archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod, nincompoop, ninny, nit
[chiefly British], nitwit, noodle, numskull (or numbskull). The point?
They [idiot, imbecile and moron] were NOT dropped because there was no
longer a need to differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed
political correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
I wouldn't describe that as political correctness.
The words idiot, imbecile and moron have moved into non-technical
everyday language to such an extent as derogatory terms that technical
use of them would be misunderstood by non-professionals.
Similarly the medical term "spastic" has been removed from use because
it has become derogatory.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spastic
It seems to have been far more common Over There than Over Here. We had
"spazz," but it had no connection with "spastic," let alone "spasm."

In "Gee, Officer Krupke" in the movie, during

"[SNOWBOY]
Right!
Officer Krupke, you’re really a square;
This boy don’t need a judge
He needs a analysis’s care!
It’s just his neurosis that oughta be curbed
He’s psychologically disturbed

[RIFF]
I’m disturbed!


[ALL]
We’re disturbed, we’re disturbed
We’re the most disturbed
Like we’re psychologically disturbed"

They make spastic gestures and attitudes but the word doesn't occur.
b***@shaw.ca
2019-11-11 00:21:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Similarly the medical term "spastic" has been removed from use because
it has become derogatory.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spastic
It seems to have been far more common Over There than Over Here. We had
"spazz," but it had no connection with "spastic," let alone "spasm."
It was common when I was in junior high school in western Canada, and
it meant what Wiktionary says it means now:

Noun. spaz (plural spazzes) (slang, derogatory, offensive) A stupid or incompetent person. (slang, derogatory, offensive) A hyperactive person. (slang, derogatory, offensive) A tantrum, a fit.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
In "Gee, Officer Krupke" in the movie, during
"[SNOWBOY]
Right!
Officer Krupke, you’re really a square;
This boy don’t need a judge
He needs a analysis’s care!
It’s just his neurosis that oughta be curbed
He’s psychologically disturbed
[RIFF]
I’m disturbed!
[ALL]
We’re disturbed, we’re disturbed
We’re the most disturbed
Like we’re psychologically disturbed"
They make spastic gestures and attitudes but the word doesn't occur.
The word's absence from one scene in Bernstein's musical doesn't
preclude its use elsewhere.

bill
Rich Ulrich
2019-11-10 23:31:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 10 Nov 2019 12:24:31 +0000, "Peter Duncanson [BrE]"
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a large
role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to differentiate
between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals everyday
jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were not e.g.
birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin, dim bulb,
dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard,
dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead,
fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead,
jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome
[archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod, nincompoop, ninny, nit
[chiefly British], nitwit, noodle, numskull (or numbskull). The point?
They [idiot, imbecile and moron] were NOT dropped because there was no
longer a need to differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed
political correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
I wouldn't describe that as political correctness.
The words idiot, imbecile and moron have moved into non-technical
everyday language to such an extent as derogatory terms that technical
use of them would be misunderstood by non-professionals.
Yes - not political correctness, but avoiding bad
communication. And maybe the terms were becoming
out-dated.

Wikip tells me that the new (in 1910) Binet IQ tests
were used to anchor the separate categories of
imbecile, moron and idiot.

In the first few decades of IQ and attittude and
personality tests, the psychologists had too-rosy ideas
about how reliabile and valid and useful such scores were.
(I'm speaking as a statistician who worked regularly
with rating scales; and I read books on psychometrics.)


As I read about it, population surveys before and
after WW II showed big changes in attitudes -- about
women and attitudes about race, for example. Those
were "inconceivable" changes, if the scales showed
permanent traits they way that they had believed.
The trust in scales was shattered,

I figure that the faith they placed on those IQ quidelines
for "the retarded" suffered (deservedly). So "moron"
became less relevant.
--
Rich Ulrich
David Kleinecke
2019-11-11 00:34:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sun, 10 Nov 2019 12:24:31 +0000, "Peter Duncanson [BrE]"
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the street.
That medical professionals draw a distiction between the two terms tells
me that the distinction is necessary for a clearer communication between
specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a large
role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to differentiate
between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals everyday
jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were not e.g.
birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin, dim bulb,
dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard,
dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead,
fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead,
jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome
[archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod, nincompoop, ninny, nit
[chiefly British], nitwit, noodle, numskull (or numbskull). The point?
They [idiot, imbecile and moron] were NOT dropped because there was no
longer a need to differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed
political correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
I wouldn't describe that as political correctness.
The words idiot, imbecile and moron have moved into non-technical
everyday language to such an extent as derogatory terms that technical
use of them would be misunderstood by non-professionals.
Yes - not political correctness, but avoiding bad
communication. And maybe the terms were becoming
out-dated.
Wikip tells me that the new (in 1910) Binet IQ tests
were used to anchor the separate categories of
imbecile, moron and idiot.
In the first few decades of IQ and attittude and
personality tests, the psychologists had too-rosy ideas
about how reliabile and valid and useful such scores were.
(I'm speaking as a statistician who worked regularly
with rating scales; and I read books on psychometrics.)
As I read about it, population surveys before and
after WW II showed big changes in attitudes -- about
women and attitudes about race, for example. Those
were "inconceivable" changes, if the scales showed
permanent traits they way that they had believed.
The trust in scales was shattered,
I figure that the faith they placed on those IQ quidelines
for "the retarded" suffered (deservedly). So "moron"
became less relevant.
Back then I did a little study to get the State of California
to stop using IQ scores in placing developmentally disabled
people in community homes. I looked at the distribution of
people on the low side (IQ below 80) and showed it didn't in
the least look like a normal distribution. This should have
been clear as soon a few thousand IQ's were measured.

It might have been sane to use IQ scores to mark out the people
with IQ's between, say, 80 and 120, as standard people but it
made no sense on the tails and never had.

Statistics is a dangerous tool.
occam
2019-11-11 10:07:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Back then I did a little study to get the State of California
to stop using IQ scores in placing developmentally disabled
people in community homes. I looked at the distribution of
people on the low side (IQ below 80) and showed it didn't in
the least look like a normal distribution. This should have
been clear as soon a few thousand IQ's were measured.
It might have been sane to use IQ scores to mark out the people
with IQ's between, say, 80 and 120, as standard people but it
made no sense on the tails and never had.
Statistics is a dangerous tool.
To paraphrase the NRA: "Statistics is not dangerous, it's the way we
humans interpret stats that can be dangerous."
Kerr-Mudd,John
2019-11-11 10:13:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by David Kleinecke
Back then I did a little study to get the State of California
to stop using IQ scores in placing developmentally disabled
people in community homes. I looked at the distribution of
people on the low side (IQ below 80) and showed it didn't in
the least look like a normal distribution. This should have
been clear as soon a few thousand IQ's were measured.
It might have been sane to use IQ scores to mark out the people
with IQ's between, say, 80 and 120, as standard people but it
made no sense on the tails and never had.
Statistics is a dangerous tool.
To paraphrase the NRA: "Statistics is not dangerous, it's the way we
humans interpret stats that can be dangerous."
Que? I thought the NRA lobbied hard to avoid collecting stats that might
show that having a gun in your house increases the likelihood of gunshot
wounds/deaths something drastic.
--
Bah, and indeed, Humbug.
CDB
2019-11-11 13:10:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Kerr-Mudd,John
Post by occam
Back then I did a little study to get the State of California to
stop using IQ scores in placing developmentally disabled people
in community homes. I looked at the distribution of people on the
low side (IQ below 80) and showed it didn't in the least look
like a normal distribution. This should have been clear as soon a
few thousand IQ's were measured.
It might have been sane to use IQ scores to mark out the people
with IQ's between, say, 80 and 120, as standard people but it
made no sense on the tails and never had.
Statistics is a dangerous tool.
To paraphrase the NRA: "Statistics is not dangerous, it's the way
we humans interpret stats that can be dangerous."
Que? I thought the NRA lobbied hard to avoid collecting stats that
might show that having a gun in your house increases the likelihood
of gunshot wounds/deaths something drastic.
"People armed with statistics kill people."
--
No people were armed in the making of this paraphrase
Rich Ulrich
2019-11-12 05:51:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 10 Nov 2019 16:34:15 -0800 (PST), David Kleinecke
<***@gmail.com> wrote:

me >
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Rich Ulrich
I figure that the faith they placed on those IQ quidelines
for "the retarded" suffered (deservedly). So "moron"
became less relevant.
Back then I did a little study to get the State of California
to stop using IQ scores in placing developmentally disabled
people in community homes. I looked at the distribution of
people on the low side (IQ below 80) and showed it didn't in
the least look like a normal distribution. This should have
been clear as soon a few thousand IQ's were measured.
Speaking as a statistician, I want to point out: failure to
look like a normal distribution is only something "bad" if
you think you have reason to expect a normal distribution.

In fact, if those "developmentally disabled" had been
selected by a strict IQ criterion, from an ideal normal
population, the shape of the distribution should be the
left tail in its expontial fall-off from the mean. Not normal.
Unless you meant, "it did not look like the tail ...."

Still - I think that your goal of "placing people" wais not
well-matched by an IQ test.

One of the first projects I worked on was a new scale, the
Discharge Readiness Inventory. Its 64 items were divided
among four "factors" reflecting abilities to cope or to care
for one's self. After clinicians rated all the items, they were
tasked for an overall rating, "How ready is this patient to
be discharged?" (Ignoring the rest of the scale, which was
also pretty good... ) That single item was pretty reliable between
paired raters, since the experienced raters had now called
to mind the details of the patient.

It was a good scale, and saw a fair amount of use. However,
it turned out that the scale did NOT predict very well who
was to be discharged from long-term care (1970 -- long-term
care still existed). The ones who got out were the ones who
had somewhere to go, not the ones who were most "ready".
Post by David Kleinecke
It might have been sane to use IQ scores to mark out the people
with IQ's between, say, 80 and 120, as standard people but it
made no sense on the tails and never had.
I accept the assertion that a well-tested IQ under 80 usually
indicates brain damage, genetic or other. ("Autism" is not the
only handicap to good testing.)

An IQ of 130 is probably needed to become a nuclear physicist.

Oddly, the highest IQs on tests are over-represented by Aspies,
from the top end of the autism spectrum.
Post by David Kleinecke
Statistics is a dangerous tool.
--
Rich Ulrich
HVS
2019-11-11 12:07:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the
street. That medical professionals draw a distiction between
the two terms tells me that the distinction is necessary for a
clearer communication between specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a
large role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to
differentiate between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals
everyday jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were
not e.g. birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin,
dim bulb, dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang],
dullard, dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce,
dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit,
hammerhead, hardhead, jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump,
lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod,
nincompoop, ninny, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noodle,
numskull (or numbskull). The point? They [idiot, imbecile and
moron] were NOT dropped because there was no longer a need to
differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed political
correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
Nah; it wasn't political correctness that put paid to the use of
those terms: it was simply a case that they'd been co-opted in
popular usage as terms of abuse, which skunked their use in
professional circles.

A similar thing happened with the change in the UK from "chiropody"
to "podiatry". AIUA -- and apart from regularising to the
international term -- the former was becoming skunked by its
similarity to "chiropractor".
--
Cheers, Harvey
CanEng (30 yrs) and BrEng (36 yrs),
indiscriminately mixed
occam
2019-11-12 07:26:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by HVS
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the
street. That medical professionals draw a distiction between
the two terms tells me that the distinction is necessary for a
clearer communication between specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a
large role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to
differentiate between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals
everyday jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were
not e.g. birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin,
dim bulb, dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang],
dullard, dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce,
dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit,
hammerhead, hardhead, jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump,
lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod,
nincompoop, ninny, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noodle,
numskull (or numbskull). The point? They [idiot, imbecile and
moron] were NOT dropped because there was no longer a need to
differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed political
correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
Nah; it wasn't political correctness that put paid to the use of
those terms: it was simply a case that they'd been co-opted in
popular usage as terms of abuse, which skunked their use in
professional circles.
I have not checked this - but I am 100% certain that the words 'idiot'
'moron' and others, were terms of abuse well before there was such a
thing as the practice of psychiatry. So the theory that they were
'technical' terms but were somehow co-opted into vernacular after they
became terms of abuse is not credible.
Post by HVS
A similar thing happened with the change in the UK from "chiropody"
to "podiatry". AIUA -- and apart from regularising to the
international term -- the former was becoming skunked by its
similarity to "chiropractor".
Quinn C
2019-11-12 17:31:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by HVS
Post by occam
The point? They [idiot, imbecile and
moron] were NOT dropped because there was no longer a need to
differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed political
correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
Nah; it wasn't political correctness that put paid to the use of
those terms: it was simply a case that they'd been co-opted in
popular usage as terms of abuse, which skunked their use in
professional circles.
I have not checked this - but I am 100% certain that the words 'idiot'
'moron' and others, were terms of abuse well before there was such a
thing as the practice of psychiatry. So the theory that they were
'technical' terms but were somehow co-opted into vernacular after they
became terms of abuse is not credible.
One of my signatures illustrates that for "idiot".
--
Do not they speak false English ... that doth not speak thou to one,
and what ever he be, Father, Mother, King, or Judge, is he not a
Novice, and Unmannerly, and an Ideot, and a Fool, that speaks Your
to one, which is not to be spoken to a singular, but to many?
-- George Fox (1660)
Jerry Friedman
2019-11-12 18:02:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by HVS
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the
street. That medical professionals draw a distiction between
the two terms tells me that the distinction is necessary for a
clearer communication between specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades at least.
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a
large role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to
differentiate between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals
everyday jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were
not e.g. birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin,
dim bulb, dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang],
dullard, dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce,
dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit,
hammerhead, hardhead, jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump,
lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod,
nincompoop, ninny, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noodle,
numskull (or numbskull). The point? They [idiot, imbecile and
moron] were NOT dropped because there was no longer a need to
differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed political
correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.
Nah; it wasn't political correctness that put paid to the use of
those terms: it was simply a case that they'd been co-opted in
popular usage as terms of abuse, which skunked their use in
professional circles.
I have not checked this - but I am 100% certain that the words 'idiot'
'moron' and others, were terms of abuse well before there was such a
thing as the practice of psychiatry. So the theory that they were
'technical' terms but were somehow co-opted into vernacular after they
became terms of abuse is not credible.
You're right about "idiot" but not about "moron".

The OED says about "moron"

1. /Psychology./ A person with mild mental retardation (spec. with an
IQ of between 50 and 70). Now somewhat archaic and offensive. The
term was first adopted and given this meaning by the American
Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded in 1910. It is now
generally avoided in technical contexts due to its association with sense 2.

1910 H. H. Goddard Let. 29 Apr. in /Jrnl. Psycho-asthenics/ Sept.–Dec.
65 The other (suggestion) is to call them [sc. feeble-minded children]
by the Greek word 'moron'. It is defined as one who is lacking in
intelligence, one who is deficient in judgement or sense.
...

People promptly made it a term of abuse, though.

2. colloquial. A stupid or slow-witted person; a fool, an idiot. Also
/attributive/ or as /adj./

1917 R. C. Benchley in /Vanity Fair/ Oct. 47 A person entering one
of these drawing-rooms and talking in connected sentences..would have
been looked upon as a high class moron.

The first meaning of "idiot" in English was "ignorant person" in
a translation of ιδιώτης (idiotes, for those who don't see the
Greek) in Acts 4:13, c. 1384.
--
Jerry Friedman
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2019-11-12 18:12:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by occam
Post by occam
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Sat, 9 Nov 2019 07:26:28 -0800 (PST), "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by occam
'Imbecile' and 'idiot' have the same meaning to the man on the
street. That medical professionals draw a distiction between
the two terms tells me that the distinction is necessary for a
clearer communication between specialists.
I don't think they've "drawn [such] a distinction" for decades
at least.> >>>
I think they were obsolete for decades when I started
working in a psychiatric institute in 1974.> >>>
So? You should bear in mind that political correctness played a
large role in making those terms obsolete - not the need to
differentiate between idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Note that those three terms were part of the professionals
everyday jargon, whereas a whole host of other similar terms were
not e.g. birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, clot [British], cretin,> >>
dim bulb, dimwit, dodo, dolt, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang],
dullard, dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce,
dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit,
hammerhead, hardhead, jackass, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump,
lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mutt, natural, nimrod,
nincompoop, ninny, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noodle,
numskull (or numbskull). The point? They [idiot, imbecile and
moron] were NOT dropped because there was no longer a need to
differentiate, but because some nincompoops imposed political
correctness on psychiatrists and other professionals.> >>
Nah; it wasn't political correctness that put paid to the use of> >
those terms: it was simply a case that they'd been co-opted in> >
popular usage as terms of abuse, which skunked their use in> >
professional circles.
I have not checked this - but I am 100% certain that the words 'idiot'
'moron' and others, were terms of abuse well before there was such a
thing as the practice of psychiatry. So the theory that they were
'technical' terms but were somehow co-opted into vernacular after they
became terms of abuse is not credible.
You're right about "idiot" but not about "moron".
That's what I thought. Thanks for allowing me not to check.
Post by Jerry Friedman
The OED says about "moron"
1. /Psychology./ A person with mild mental retardation (spec. with an
IQ of between 50 and 70). Now somewhat archaic and offensive. The
term was first adopted and given this meaning by the American
Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded in 1910. It is now
generally avoided in technical contexts due to its association with sense 2.
1910 H. H. Goddard Let. 29 Apr. in /Jrnl. Psycho-asthenics/ Sept.–Dec.
65 The other (suggestion) is to call them [sc. feeble-minded children]
by the Greek word 'moron'. It is defined as one who is lacking in
intelligence, one who is deficient in judgement or sense.
...
People promptly made it a term of abuse, though.
2. colloquial. A stupid or slow-witted person; a fool, an idiot. Also
/attributive/ or as /adj./
1917 R. C. Benchley in /Vanity Fair/ Oct. 47 A person entering one
of these drawing-rooms and talking in connected sentences..would have
been looked upon as a high class moron.
The first meaning of "idiot" in English was "ignorant person" in
a translation of ιδιώτης (idiotes, for those who don't see the
Greek) in Acts 4:13, c. 1384.
--
athel
occam
2019-11-10 07:37:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Obviously not, since it in the course of disappearing without interfering
with comprehension/communication. No one doesn't know what "10 Items or
Less" means.
In that example you are are correct, more or fewer. Just picking up one
example which is borderline does not, however, excuse the hundreds of
other examples where "fewer" is not/cannot be a straight substitute for
less, no matter how much of an eejit the speaker is.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2019-11-10 12:28:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Obviously not, since it in the course of disappearing without interfering
with comprehension/communication. No one doesn't know what "10 Items or
Less" means.
In that example you are are correct, more or fewer. Just picking up one
example which is borderline does not, however, excuse the hundreds of
other examples where "fewer" is not/cannot be a straight substitute for
less, no matter how much of an eejit the speaker is.
I suggest:

few | many
fewer | manyer

less | more
lesser | morer

That might not catch on!
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Richard Heathfield
2019-11-10 12:35:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 10/11/2019 12:28, Peter Duncanson [BrE] wrote:

<snip>
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
few | many
fewer | manyer
less | more
lesser | morer
That might not catch on!
I gave one of them a try. Here's the result:

$ less | more
Missing filename ("less --help" for help)
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Ian Jackson
2019-11-10 13:59:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by occam
Obviously not, since it in the course of disappearing without interfering
with comprehension/communication. No one doesn't know what "10 Items or
Less" means.
In that example you are are correct, more or fewer. Just picking up one
example which is borderline does not, however, excuse the hundreds of
other examples where "fewer" is not/cannot be a straight substitute for
less, no matter how much of an eejit the speaker is.
few | many
fewer | manyer
less | more
lesser | morer
That might not catch on!
Why not? Every day I hear nu-speak English that is manyer morer
horribler than what you propose - and somewhere out there, there must be
a guilty someone who first used it. For example, was it not Jeremy
Corbyn who introduced "ram-packed" into our language, and this has now
largely replaced "jam-packed"?
--
Ian
Quinn C
2019-11-11 22:08:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
few | many
fewer | manyer
less | more
lesser | morer
That might not catch on!
Why not? Every day I hear nu-speak English that is manyer morer
horribler than what you propose - and somewhere out there, there must be
a guilty someone who first used it. For example, was it not Jeremy
Corbyn who introduced "ram-packed" into our language, and this has now
largely replaced "jam-packed"?
Shouldn't that be ram-packed for herders, jam-packed for farmers?
--
For spirits when they please
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
And uncompounded is their essence pure,
-- Milton, Paradise Lost
Rich Ulrich
2019-11-12 04:59:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Mon, 11 Nov 2019 17:08:08 -0500, Quinn C
. For example, was it not Jeremy
Post by Quinn C
Post by Ian Jackson
Corbyn who introduced "ram-packed" into our language, and this has now
largely replaced "jam-packed"?
Shouldn't that be ram-packed for herders, jam-packed for farmers?
I can grasp "in a jam" from the crushing of ingredients.

Lately, I've wondered how "in a pickle" could mean
something similar.

Google gives me a Dutch source that seems unlikely,
and then a nicer-seeming explantion related to being
drunk, or, familiarly, pickled. Stay that way for a few
days, and ... [Shakespearean reference].

https://grammarist.com/idiom/in-a-pickle/
--
Rich Ulrich
Tony Cooper
2019-11-12 05:26:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Mon, 11 Nov 2019 23:59:51 -0500, Rich Ulrich
Post by Rich Ulrich
On Mon, 11 Nov 2019 17:08:08 -0500, Quinn C
. For example, was it not Jeremy
Post by Quinn C
Post by Ian Jackson
Corbyn who introduced "ram-packed" into our language, and this has now
largely replaced "jam-packed"?
Shouldn't that be ram-packed for herders, jam-packed for farmers?
I can grasp "in a jam" from the crushing of ingredients.
Lately, I've wondered how "in a pickle" could mean
A long-ago neighbor used to make pickles out of cucumbers by soaking
them in vinegar in an earthenware jar. They were packed tightly in
the jar, which could mean that "in a pickle" means trapped. Or, that
could be just a crock.

I watched my grandson's last baseball game of the season tonight. He's
the team's catcher, and he and the third baseman caught a runner "in a
pickle" twice. The ran down the runner each time.

The baseball term means two players of the in-field team try to run
down a player of the at-bat team who is trying to advance to the next
base either to steal or after a hit. The runner is caught between the
two who are closing in on him and throwing the ball back and forth.

If I didn't explain it clearly, here's a video:


--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
CDB
2019-11-12 11:52:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quinn C
Post by Ian Jackson
few | many fewer | manyer
less | more lesser | morer
That might not catch on!
Why not? Every day I hear nu-speak English that is manyer morer
horribler than what you propose - and somewhere out there, there
must be a guilty someone who first used it. For example, was it not
Jeremy Corbyn who introduced "ram-packed" into our language, and
this has now largely replaced "jam-packed"?
Shouldn't that be ram-packed for herders, jam-packed for farmers?
And music-lovers, maybe.

There is such a thing as rammed-earth construction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammed_earth
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-10 19:59:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Obviously not, since it in the course of disappearing without interfering
with comprehension/communication. No one doesn't know what "10 Items or
Less" means.
In that example you are are correct, more or fewer. Just picking up one
example which is borderline does not, however, excuse the hundreds of
other examples where "fewer" is not/cannot be a straight substitute for
less, no matter how much of an eejit the speaker is.
As I said, it is a _change in progress_. In some cases, they're interchange-
able; in others, they're not yet.
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-08 21:43:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
David Kleinecke
2019-11-08 22:17:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
From my POV the count/mass feature is a gender system. Is English
unique in making this distinction?
Anders D. Nygaard
2019-11-09 01:10:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
From my POV the count/mass feature is a gender system. Is English
unique in making this distinction?
No, Danish has exactly the same issue with mindre/færre and mere/flere,
also based on the mass/count distinction.
Very few(!) dinosaurs insist on the difference.

/Anders, Denmark.
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-09 15:23:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
From my POV the count/mass feature is a gender system. Is English
unique in making this distinction?
Hmm. If you google < count/mass distinction >, you get a bunch of hits
for articles treating it as a widespread phenomenon, before the quite
useless Wikiparticle "Mass Noun," which says several times "In English
and many other languages" but gives no examples from any other language,
or even a hint of what languages they may be.
Jerry Friedman
2019-11-09 16:56:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
From my POV the count/mass feature is a gender system. Is English
unique in making this distinction?
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
--
Jerry Friedman
Peter Moylan
2019-11-10 00:34:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines

Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less

One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed a
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".

Whatever the reason, it prompts me to ask: does the Scots language have
a less/fewer distinction?
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Richard Heathfield
2019-11-10 09:34:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
   Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
   And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed a
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses all
hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.

I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the youngest
of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
[No, of course I don't have a great-aunt Edna.]
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2019-11-10 09:50:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
   Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
   And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed a
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses
all hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the
youngest of the 24 Inverness lasses.
If you tried a bit harder you could make it as difficult to disentangle
as one of navi's examples.
Post by Richard Heathfield
Beat *that* for historical evidence!
--
athel
Richard Heathfield
2019-11-10 10:15:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Peter Moylan
One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed a
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses
all hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the
youngest of the 24 Inverness lasses.
If you tried a bit harder you could make it as difficult to disentangle
as one of navi's examples.
I could, yes; but I was striving to avoid being *too* recondite.
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Peter Moylan
2019-11-10 10:37:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed a
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses all
hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
Sure; and that would be reflected in the wording

Four and twenty virgins went down to Kirriemuir
And when the ball was over there were four and twenty fewer
Post by Richard Heathfield
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the youngest
of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
First I'll need to construct a tree diagram.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Richard Heathfield
2019-11-10 11:03:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
    Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
    And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed a
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses all
hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
Sure; and that would be reflected in the wording
    Four and twenty virgins went down to Kirriemuir
    And when the ball was over there were four and twenty fewer
Any volunteers to fix up the rest of the lyrics?
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Richard Heathfield
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the youngest
of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
First I'll need to construct a tree diagram.
Consider a spherical tree in a vacuum...
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Ian Jackson
2019-11-10 10:54:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
   Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
   And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses
all hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the
youngest of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
--
Ian
Richard Heathfield
2019-11-10 11:05:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
 The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
     Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
    And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
 One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses
all hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the
youngest of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
Ho ho ho

(I'll just get my coat.)
--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Jerry Friedman
2019-11-10 15:04:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
 The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
     Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
    And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
 One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses
all hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as the
grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the
youngest of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...

(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)

By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
--
Jerry Friedman
Ian Jackson
2019-11-10 16:16:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Richard Heathfield
Post by Jerry Friedman
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
 The song "The Ball of Kirriemuir" starts with the lines
     Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness
    And when the ball was over there were four and twenty less
 One might argue that it was written this way because someone needed
rhyme for "Inverness", but I don't think so. It would have been equally
easy to rhyme "fewer" with "Kirriemuir".
Neverthefewer, it would have been historically incorrect. The lasses
all hailed from Inverness, not Kirriemuir. They went *to* Kirriemuir.
I know this because my great-aunt Edna attended the same school as
the grand-daughter of a close personal friend of the brother of the
youngest of the 24 Inverness lasses. Beat *that* for historical evidence!
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully
rhymed with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...
(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)
By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
Actually, "hoore" can sort-of be either. Although it's probably not used
much these days, I think it's usually a term of familiar (but slightly
disapproving) affection - much like the N E England use of "bugger"
(noun) - as in "You daft bugger" or "You clever bugger". [No connection
with "The captain of the lugger [1] - he was a filthy bugger".]
[1] The Good Ship Venus.
--
Ian
Eric Walker
2019-11-11 11:55:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
[...]
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ian Jackson
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...
(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)
By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
When I were a wee laddie (in the Bronx), it was not uncommon to hear the
pronunciation "who-er" for whore.
--
Cordially,
Eric Walker
Peter Moylan
2019-11-11 23:56:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ian Jackson
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...
(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)
By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
When I were a wee laddie (in the Bronx), it was not uncommon to hear the
pronunciation "who-er" for whore.
And that brings to mind a chant I heard in my younger days.

Who are, who are, who are we?
We are who-ares, can't you see.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Ken Blake
2019-11-12 16:21:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ian Jackson
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...
(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)
By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
When I were a wee laddie (in the Bronx), it was not uncommon to hear the
pronunciation "who-er" for whore.
I also grew up in the Bronx (mostly) and I also remember that
pronunciation. Was it limited to the Bronx, though? Not used in the rest
of NYC? Not in nearby New Jersey? Not in other parts of the US? I don't
know.
--
Ken
b***@shaw.ca
2019-11-12 19:27:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ian Jackson
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...
(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)
By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
When I were a wee laddie (in the Bronx), it was not uncommon to hear the
pronunciation "who-er" for whore.
I also grew up in the Bronx (mostly) and I also remember that
pronunciation. Was it limited to the Bronx, though? Not used in the rest
of NYC? Not in nearby New Jersey? Not in other parts of the US? I don't
know.
For what it's worth, the Dutch word for whore is "hoer", and it rhymes,
approximately, with "tour". I have no idea whether it affected
the pronunciation of "whore" in parts of New Amsterdam where
Dutch was spoken at one time.

bill
Tony Cooper
2019-11-12 19:35:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
Post by Eric Walker
[...]
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ian Jackson
I'm sure there must be a situation where "fewer" can be usefully rhymed
with the Scots vernacular "hoore" (whore).
She said she was a virgin, but she was but a hoore.
She said she wanted twenty pund an' nocht wad dae for fewer.
So balls to...
(Disclaimer: There's no reason to expect that to be Scots.)
By the way, in my English "fewer" has two syllables and "poor", "boor",
etc. have one each.
When I were a wee laddie (in the Bronx), it was not uncommon to hear the
pronunciation "who-er" for whore.
I also grew up in the Bronx (mostly) and I also remember that
pronunciation. Was it limited to the Bronx, though? Not used in the rest
of NYC? Not in nearby New Jersey? Not in other parts of the US? I don't
know.
Aren't some Bostonians known to use "hoor" - pronounced something like
"who-er" - for "whore".
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Quinn C
2019-11-11 22:08:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
From my POV the count/mass feature is a gender system. Is English
unique in making this distinction?
I believe lots of languages have a count-mass distinction, but not so
many have it in the words for "more" and "less/fewer".
Yes. Many make the distinction in the article system - "a/the cup of
water", but just "water", not "a/the water".

German has the distinction in little/few, but it's only one of singular
vs. plural, and vanishes in the comparative.

little = wenig less = weniger
few = wenige fewer = weniger

I think it's mostly upheld in careful writing, but in talking it can
slip by unnoticed.
--
The lack of any sense of play between them worried Miles. You
had to have a keen sense of humor to do sex and stay sane.
-- L. McMaster Bujold, Memory
m***@gmail.com
2019-11-08 23:06:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by occam
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less'
and 'fewer'.
What's the "clear difference"?
Post by occam
When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
Their _usage_ is supposed to be different. Their _meaning_ is not.
If their meaning is the same, then they are interchangeable?
"Children! I wish you would make less noise." (Does not work with "fewer")
Right.
Post by occam
"I wish I had invited fewer guests to this conference-call." (Try it
with less.)
That's fewer obvious that it's impossible.
I notice that the "objections" come from speakers of languages without
the count/mass distinction (which determines the use of fewer/less).
How is that taught in ESL classes?
Hindi doesn't make the distinction.
It's "zyaada" for more and "kum" for less/fewer.
aawaaz kum karo (make less noise)
kum mehamaanon ko bulaana tha (should have called fewer guests)

(FWIW, the "u" in "kum" is pronounced like in but)
Quinn C
2019-11-08 19:51:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by occam
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
No. It's just another case of language disintegrating.
Language never disintegrates. It just reassembles differently.
What disintegrates is your approval of the assemblage.
I disagree. There is a clear difference of meaning between 'less' and
'fewer'. When you merge their usage, you erode the differentiating power
of language. Its akin to the expressive power of pidgin vs language.
There is a difference in meaning between "less cups" and "fewer cups"?
Between "less coffee" and "fewer coffee"?

And how did you ever get by without the same distinction in the
opposite direction?

Do you also miss the thousands of clear differences that other
languages express and English doesn't?

Three-thin-long-objects pencils
Three-flat-objects paper
Three-large-animals cows
Three-small-animals cats
...
--
Do not they speak false English ... that doth not speak thou to one,
and what ever he be, Father, Mother, King, or Judge, is he not a
Novice, and Unmannerly, and an Ideot, and a Fool, that speaks Your
to one, which is not to be spoken to a singular, but to many?
-- George Fox (1660)
Joseph C. Fineman
2019-11-07 22:41:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
My take on the matter is that "fewer" was dying a natural death in the
1960s, when some people, with zeal & success worthy of a better cause,
resuscitated it. There are some contexts where it is extremely awkward,
not to say impossible. Strict analogy with the idiomatic use of "more"
would require

There are a few fewer (many fewer) people here than there were
yesterday.

but I have almost never seen it.

It is true that "fewer" sometimes removes ambiguity, e.g.,

I have seen fewer common examples recently.

However, that nuisance is far greater with "more" than with "less", and
nothing can be done about it. If you made me dictator, I would invent
"manier" and then keep "fewer" as its counterpart. In the real world,
however, "fewer" seems indeed a lost cause.
--
--- Joe Fineman ***@verizon.net

||: The vulgar have vulgar notions of vulgarity. :||
b***@shaw.ca
2019-11-08 00:38:30 UTC
Reply
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Post by Joseph C. Fineman
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
My take on the matter is that "fewer" was dying a natural death in the
1960s, when some people, with zeal & success worthy of a better cause,
resuscitated it. There are some contexts where it is extremely awkward,
not to say impossible. Strict analogy with the idiomatic use of "more"
would require
There are a few fewer (many fewer) people here than there were
yesterday.
but I have almost never seen it.
It is true that "fewer" sometimes removes ambiguity, e.g.,
I have seen fewer common examples recently.
However, that nuisance is far greater with "more" than with "less", and
nothing can be done about it. If you made me dictator, I would invent
"manier" and then keep "fewer" as its counterpart. In the real world,
however, "fewer" seems indeed a lost cause.
It's active in my vocabulary and I hear it regularly in my corner
of Canadian English. I also hear things such as "There are less people
here than yesterday", but they're in the minority. "Fewer"
does not feel endangered to me.

bill
Ken Blake
2019-11-08 03:37:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by b***@shaw.ca
Post by Joseph C. Fineman
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
My take on the matter is that "fewer" was dying a natural death in the
1960s, when some people, with zeal & success worthy of a better cause,
resuscitated it. There are some contexts where it is extremely awkward,
not to say impossible. Strict analogy with the idiomatic use of "more"
would require
There are a few fewer (many fewer) people here than there were
yesterday.
but I have almost never seen it.
It is true that "fewer" sometimes removes ambiguity, e.g.,
I have seen fewer common examples recently.
However, that nuisance is far greater with "more" than with "less", and
nothing can be done about it. If you made me dictator, I would invent
"manier" and then keep "fewer" as its counterpart. In the real world,
however, "fewer" seems indeed a lost cause.
It's active in my vocabulary and I hear it regularly in my corner
of Canadian English. I also hear things such as "There are less people
here than yesterday", but they're in the minority. "Fewer"
does not feel endangered to me.
I think it's endangered. For example, almost all supermarkets around
here have checkout lanes for people with less than 15 items.
--
Ken
b***@shaw.ca
2019-11-08 06:39:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@shaw.ca
Post by Joseph C. Fineman
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
My take on the matter is that "fewer" was dying a natural death in the
1960s, when some people, with zeal & success worthy of a better cause,
resuscitated it. There are some contexts where it is extremely awkward,
not to say impossible. Strict analogy with the idiomatic use of "more"
would require
There are a few fewer (many fewer) people here than there were
yesterday.
but I have almost never seen it.
It is true that "fewer" sometimes removes ambiguity, e.g.,
I have seen fewer common examples recently.
However, that nuisance is far greater with "more" than with "less", and
nothing can be done about it. If you made me dictator, I would invent
"manier" and then keep "fewer" as its counterpart. In the real world,
however, "fewer" seems indeed a lost cause.
It's active in my vocabulary and I hear it regularly in my corner
of Canadian English. I also hear things such as "There are less people
here than yesterday", but they're in the minority. "Fewer"
does not feel endangered to me.
I think it's endangered. For example, almost all supermarkets around
here have checkout lanes for people with less than 15 items.
Well, that might be like the legendary grocer's apostrophe. It has
always been there, but those of his customers who care about how
they use the language make sure they get it right.

bill
Joseph C. Fineman
2019-11-08 22:55:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by b***@shaw.ca
Post by Joseph C. Fineman
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
My take on the matter is that "fewer" was dying a natural death in the
1960s, when some people, with zeal & success worthy of a better cause,
resuscitated it. There are some contexts where it is extremely awkward,
not to say impossible. Strict analogy with the idiomatic use of "more"
would require
There are a few fewer (many fewer) people here than there were
yesterday.
but I have almost never seen it.
It is true that "fewer" sometimes removes ambiguity, e.g.,
I have seen fewer common examples recently.
However, that nuisance is far greater with "more" than with "less", and
nothing can be done about it. If you made me dictator, I would invent
"manier" and then keep "fewer" as its counterpart. In the real world,
however, "fewer" seems indeed a lost cause.
It's active in my vocabulary and I hear it regularly in my corner
of Canadian English. I also hear things such as "There are less people
here than yesterday", but they're in the minority. "Fewer"
does not feel endangered to me.
I was specifically referring to "a few fewer" & "many fewer".
--
--- Joe Fineman ***@verizon.net

||: The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and :||
||: the second half by our children. :||
Eric Walker
2019-11-08 10:47:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much of
a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
You omitted the "d" in "devolving". And the answer depends on the
company you keep.

Generally, so long as few or none are confused or startled by a given
usage, that usage has not died.
--
Cordially,
Eric Walker
Peter T. Daniels
2019-11-08 15:40:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Eric Walker
Post by m***@gmail.com
Has less vs fewer (and by extension, number vs amount) become as much
of a lost cause as lie vs lay?
Or is this just another case of the language evolving.
You omitted the "d" in "devolving". And the answer depends on the
company you keep.
Generally, so long as few or none are confused or startled by a given
usage, that usage has not died.
Yet births of new usages are illegitimate?
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