Arrant Pedantry


New and Improved Shirts

Just a quick update to say that I’ve redone the design for my Better Living Through Syntax shirts. Now it actually looks like a proper X-bar structure instead of a hastily drawn tree-thingy. Check it out!

Keep in mind that the shirt colors there are just examples—you can choose your own. And, as always, if you have any feedback or requests, feel free to let me know.

Also, I promise that I’m working on a real, substantive post. It should be done any day now . . .


The Newest Fangled Backformation

The other day at work I came across a fantastic formation I’d never seen before: “newest fangled.” It was from a speech given back in 1938 by J. Reuben Clark at Brigham Young University, where the law school is named for him.

The speech was pretty formal and serious, so I’m not sure if I want to assume that it was a jocular or ironic usage. However, a Google search for “newest fangled” returns a mere 363 hits, and citations in the OED for fangle or fangled are pretty rare and don’t appear much after 1700, so it doesn’t appear that this is an example of dialectal usage. Idiolectal, perhaps, but it’s hard to say since I’ve only got one example and I’m not familiar with Clark’s other works.

At any rate, I got a kick out of it, and I thought I’d share.

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