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Language Log

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 - 8:13 a.m.

There's a discussion going on on ADS-L about 'used to would'-- the difference between that and just plain old 'used to' or 'would'. One person suggested a difference in volitionality between the two, which stikes me as utter blather. I suspect she is not a native speaker of the dialect in question. She didn't say. Maybe she is and it's just a different one from mine? A more interesting one? But really, her interpretations struck me as nonsense. (It's often that way with semantic judgments-- unlike syntax, where you can go, 'eh, close, but no' or 'hmm, maybe acceptable', with semantics it's either, 'Sure, I can see that' or 'What? Nonsense!')

Anyway, the two examples they've been batting back and forth involves the VPs [tell lies] and [think]. Not really comparable, since one's an activity and the other is (usually, and certainly in the sense deployed in the example) a stative.

Time was I would have spent the morning running 'used to', 'would' and 'used to would' through VPs of all the aspectual classes to try and find some more distinctions. But I don't feel like it. That and, I remember discussing the diff btw 'used to' and 'would' in the tense/aspect seminar, and I remember that the conclusion was that there was a lot more to it than we could cover in a few hours. There always is.

Finally finished both the photo albums. They look excellent. I did calligraphy pieces supplemented by inlaid mosaic on the covers, and somewhat less detailed, smaller mosaics on the backs. They both turned out beautifully. I'm always happy when I put the work and time into something to make it just so, and it then turns out perfectly. It's quite satisfying. On the other hand, they did each take me ALL DAY, so I'll reiterate my point about not doing these for money anytime soon. It's amazing how long I can take shuffling bits of paper about and rearranging them trying to find a good design.

I hope the people like them, and do not spill coffee on them immediately. Or let anyone under the age of 10 touch them. If they do, I don't want to know about it.

Today, more greeting card designs, and maybe getting that Etsy shop back up and running.

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