S as well as S

Am I totally behind the curve on accepting _S as well as S_ (and _V(P) as well as V(P)_)?

> I don’t know mixins because I don’t like mixins (as well as I don’t really like templates).
>
> Mersin State Opera and Ballet hired me to design a ballet “The Harem” in 1998, as well as I had a wonderful chance to design a ballet “Antonius and Cleopatra” in Istanbul state Opera and Ballet in 1989, invited here by a Primabalerina and a State Artist Merih Sumen
>
> Anyone who loves to cook as well as eat will love these great recipes that I consider my favorites

I hear it from time to time, and wonder if people have a different entry for _as well as_ than what I have. Or, are such coordinations due to a replanning of the sentence, after you’ve already committed to _as well as_, that makes verby coordination sound better?

Most of them always men

Okay, this I just had to share. It’s on the boundary, I’d say, between mess-up and something a competence-grammarian should account for (I’m currently waiting for Mark Liberman to get back of [my latest comment](http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1350#comment-30040) on that topic).

> And like you, I have significant difficulties with women. Most of my friends are and always have been men. ([link](http://marybishop.blogspot.com/2006/04/grey-squirrel-like-small-grey-coffee_11.html#c114476248381983135)

I really want to know how most people (whose brains haven’t been fried on syntax and semantics) react to this sort of sentence.

I felt pain but not dizzy

Yesterday I was at a climbing gym working out on a treadmill (climbing isn’t my thing, generally), and noticed something interesting about the medical warning printed on it. It read (roughly):

> If you feel pain, faint, or dizzy, stop exercising immediately.

Though I’d read that warning dozens of times on many occasions, this time it garden-pathed me. The structure is [if you [feel N, A, or A]], which involves coordination of a noun with two adjectives (or their phrasal projections). But thanks to the lexical ambiguity of _faint_, I parsed it as [if you [feel pain], [faint], or], at which point I was expecting another (finite) verb phrase, but instead got _dizzy_ instead.

Read more »

MLC from the mouth of a bunny

Multi-level coordination is when you get something like this:

> She has been around the world, climbed the tallest mountains, but won’t eat a simple sea cucumber.

Where the first two coordinated verb phrases are inflected to be complements of _have_ (_has been_, _has climbed_) while the final one is not (*_has won’t eat_). For many examples and discussion thereof, you need look no further than [here](http://literalminded.wordpress.com/category/syntax/coordination/multiple-level-coordination/).

Just the other day I happened (by complete accident I assure you) to have my set-top box set to the Disney Channel (by no, or at least little, fault of my own) when a children’s show called _Bunnytown_ started. The first thing I heard was some bunny addressing TV land, saying something like (IIRC):

> Are you tired, sick, or have the flu?

You know, this sort of stuff is what the TV ratings system was designed for: TV-7:L-NCC (that’s “7 and over, due to language – non-canonical coordination). Parents need to be able make informed choices about the language they expose their kids to, and as a non-parent, I should think that some kids just aren’t ready for, prepared to deal with, or have the linguistic self-awareness to understand, complex coordinate structures, let alone from cute bunnies.

I X and I vote

Consider what are likely values for X in the phrasal template (nascent snowclone?) _I X and I vote_. Such a declaration is commonly seen on bumper stickers and sometimes in the windows of people’s places of residence. In my experience (at least the experience that I think I can recall), it’s most commonly _I own a gun and I vote_ and _I’m in the NRA and I vote_. But that could just be because a house near where I used to live had such a sign up in his or her window. I briefly considered that this was more of a right-wing thing to say. But if you search on google you’ll find slogans like _I’m Indian_, _I game and I vote_, _I have a dog and I vote_, and _I’m undead and I vote_, none of which really leads one to believe that the voter in question leans one way or the other politically. Well, maybe the last one…

Let it be known that other(s) have noted and commented on this pattern, including [this criticism](http://www.amybeloved.com/blog/2007_10_01_archive.html). [Others](http://sfomom.blogspot.com/2008/01/i-am-not-soccer-momand-i-vote.html) seem to be aware of the template and modify it consciously.

In any case, it seems that the non-humorous ones tend at least to be proclaiming that the person holds some fringe (I’m Pagan and I vote) or at least controversial (I’m Pro-Choice and I vote) stance. What’s interesting is what you can tell about a person from the bumper sticker _beyond_ the two stated facts.

Okay, so I really have only one case in mind, and that’s the following bumper sticker I saw recently in Berkeley. I don’t recall the sort of car it was on, but the sticker was green, and it read

> I eat tofu and I vote.

Given the connection in the West (or at least California) between tofu and vegetarianism/veganism, and (thereby?) with environmentalism, and in general progressive attitudes, I read this as a statement of progressive, or possibly just tree-hugger values. But for what class of people could you draw such a connection? And here’s where the issue of the significance of tofu-eating comes in. There are people for whom tofu eating is nothing special, myself included, but nonetheless there is at least for some people (again, myself included) a recognition of the _indexicality_ of tofu, especially (or exclusively) among people for whom tofu is something quite special. And it is this latter group’s recognition of the specialness of tofu that lets one understand the significance of the bumper sticker. Of course it’s not so simple as all that – it’s not necessarily just about individuals who happen to eat tofu, but the historical context in which they eat it. The grown child of an immigrant from a tofu-eating nation might feel just as home with tofu as the grown child of people raised in a tofu-is-new culture. Nonetheless, the social significance of eating tofu, or at least the recognition of a historical significance, might somehow persist in the later generation, such that the driver of that car might have dietary habits observably no different from (say) mine, though it would be entirely misleading (in intent, though not in literal meaning) to put that bumper sticker on my own car.

On the other hand, if a bumper sticker were to read _I eat rice and I vote_ we would have a rather different situation.

Itsy Bitsy coordination

Anyone who’s spent any time reading the blog (or the scholarly work) of [Neal Whitman](http://literalminded.wordpress.com/) knows that English has a whole bunch of messed up coordinate structures. My personal favorite is [friends in low places](http://literalminded.wordpress.com/category/syntax/coordination/friends-in-low-places-coordinations/), aka Right-node wrapping. But also up there is the combination of quotative inversion and coordination. For instance:

> “No problem,” said the stewardess and promptly dropped a second tray of food onto my foldout table, without taking away the original one. [link](http://blognostic.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/london-to-la/)

The interesting thing being that the stewardess, who is the one doing the saying, after the verb due to a particular narrative convention, but nonetheless acts as the subject of the sentence with respect to the coordination: the stewardess is also the one who dropped the second tray of food.

If you’ve been thinking about the title of this post, you’ll probably see what I’m getting at. The same sort of issue arises with so-called locative inversion, as in:

> down came the rain and washed the spider out

> out came the sun and dried up all the rain

I have to admit that I find quotative inversion plus coordination to sound strange, and outside of this particular nursery rhyme, I think I’d find locative inversion equally jarring. But there it is.