Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Three Quotations

Posted by Neal on March 1, 2006

I’ve had this quotation written down in my memo book since November. It’s from Julie Andrews, talking about The Sound of Music, when an anniversary edition of it was released on DVD:

Of course, I saw it a couple of times at various previews and things like that, but it’s not something that I actually put in, sit back and run.
(“Actress sings praises of movie musical on anniversary DVD,” Ian Spelling, New York Times Syndicate, 13 Nov 2005)

It was recently joined by a line from blogger DGM (who has provided interesting linguistic material on other occasions). This comes from her Valentine’s Day posting, where she talks about a diary from her teenage years:

It’s just a bunch of embarrassingly juvenile scratchings about life as a hormonal 15-year old girl, meant only for me to look back on and cringe….

And only a few days ago, I came across this line in the Flashman novel that I’ve been reading:

…perhaps terror lends wings to my wits, for when I think of the monsters I’ve conversed with and come away with a whole skin, more or less….
(George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman on the March, p. 202)

When I added the last quotation to the first two, I said, “Hey, neat, now I have a set, with one of each kind!” What, you may ask, do the quotations have in common, while still being different enough to represent three different classes? Well, I don’t have time to write about it now, since it’s time to go watch the episode of Lost that just finished taping. (Oh, and I was right about there not being a new episode last week. Hosers.) I’ll write more tomorrow.

4 Responses to “Three Quotations”

  1. ACW said

    Andrews: … put [t] in, sit back [*], and run [t].

    DGM: … look back on [t] and cringe [*].

    Fraser: … I’ve conversed with [t] and come away [*] with a whole skin …

    All cases of extraction from anomalously structured inner clauses. But they don’t read all that badly to me.

  2. irina said

    Tomorrow has gone for long, yet no explanation still.
    There is a certain language oddness in all the quotations, but I can’t put my finger on it. Could it be the relatives clauses that somehow unappropriately describe different objects(I mean the grammatical term)?

  3. Neal said

    ACW: You’ve identified the common property I noticed. I agree, they all sound OK. There are explanations as to why, which is what I was going to write up in the ‘tomorrow’ that is now yesterday. (Sorry, irina.) It’s partially written, and I hope to have it up very soon.–>

  4. […] (RSS) « Three Quotations Words You Look Back On and Cringe […]

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