by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/05/08 18:30 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/05/08/415549.aspx
Over in the Language Log, Arnold Zwicky pointed out in Not to or to not a good example of an obligitorily split infinitive.
I immediately thought on Steven Pinker and The Language Instinct, where he talked about this particular point (in the larger context of language mavens):
Of course, forcing modern speakers of English to not -- whoops, not to split infintives becaue it isn't done in Latin make about as much sense as forcing modern residents of England to wear laurels and togas. Julius Caesar could not have split an infinitive if he had wanted to. In Latin the infinitive is a single word like facere or dicere, a syntactic atom. English is a different kind of language. It is an "isolating" language. building sentences around many simple words instead of a few complicated ones. The infinitive is based on two word -- a complementizer, to, and a verb, go. Words, by definition, are rearrangeable units, and there is no conceivable reaon why an adverb should not come between them:
Space -- the final frontier.... These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. to boldly go where no man has gone before.
To go boldly where no man has gone before? Beam me up, Scotty; there's no intelligent life down here.
On a somewhat tangential note, I would quote more, but my keyboard has died in an interesting way -- the A, S, Left Shift, and Left Ctrl key have all stopped working. The only other keyboard I have here is the Happy Hacking Keyboard Blank Key Top Model that I bought soon after I mentioned I was thinking about doing it. I am not quite good of a typist that I can type exclusively on it, so I am typing on both until I get into work tomorrow where I have a lot of keyboards (or I can wait until Tuesday when the Dell "next day onsite service" tech comes to replace the keyboard.
I wonder (while I am talking about linguistic stuff), whether the lack of those two letters (a and s) can be considered a special dialect of some sort?
(I inserted the letters after the fact, pretend they are not there. The inability to use certain letters is not a dialect issue, it must have some name though....
This post brought to you by "A" and "S" (U+0041 and U+0053, a.k.a. LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A and LATIN CAPITAL LETTER S)
# Steve Dispensa on 8 May 2005 9:39 PM:
# Michael S. Kaplan on 8 May 2005 9:51 PM:
# Vorn on 9 May 2005 12:37 PM:
# Eric Lippert on 11 May 2005 3:17 PM:
# Michael S. Kaplan on 11 May 2005 3:31 PM:
# Mark Steward on 9 Jul 2005 2:24 PM:
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