>I've noticed an increasing prevalence of what I call the dangling >"as far as." Instead of saying, "As far as _______ is concerned," >or "As far as _______ goes," It's just, "As far as ______," and then >the rest of the sentence. One of the attorneys for the prosecution >in the O.J. Simpson case--I don't remember his name, but he questioned >criminalists -- used the dangling "as far as." For example: "As far >as the blood under Nicole Brown's fingernails, were you able to make a >match?" > >Anyone else notice this phenomenon? Apparently so. There's a really good (though fairly technical) article about it from a sociolinguistic viewpoint (the only viewpoint that makes sense for such a variable phenomenon) in the latest issue of Language, the journal of the Linguistic Society of America. It's fascinating, and covers all the bases, with copious data. (Found in the Table of Contents for _Language_, via WWW: http://semlab2.sbs.sunysb.edu/Language/language.html This URL in turn was found from the Linguist List, via WWW: http://www.ling.rochester.edu/linguist/contents.html Both are text-only, and accessible via lynx) _Language_ Vol.71 No. 1 (March 1995) "Syntactic variation and change in progress: Loss of the verbal coda in topic-restricting 'as far as' constructions" by John R. Rickford, Thomas A. Wasow, Norma Mendoza-Denton & Juli Espinoza, all of Stanford University Abstract The construction 'as far as NP' is a common topic restrictor in modern English, but its verbal coda ('goes/is concerned') is often omitted. We examine potental constraints on this variation and find significant effects for syntactic, phonological, discourse mode and social variables. The internal effects are also relevant to 'Heavy NP Shift' and other weight-related phenomena. Diachronic data on the 'as far as' construction, and the evidence of synchronic age distributions and usage commentators, suggest that the verbless variant has become markedly more frequent in recent decades, allowing us a rare opportunity to study syntactic change in progress. In addition to documenting the nature of variation and change in this construction, our study has larger implications for the study of syntax and sociolinguistic variation, and demonstrates the value of integrating methods from different linguistic subfields (in this case, sociolinguistics and variation theory, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, and syntax). -------------------------------------------- -John Lawler More grammar Linguistics Program University of Michigan "..and, who knows? Maybe the horse will sing."