Language-Change Index

Language-Change Index.

The third edition of Garner’s Modern American Usage reflects several new practices. Invariably inferior forms, for example, are now marked with asterisks preceding the term or phrase, a marking common in linguistics.

The most interesting new feature is the Language-Change Index. Its purpose is to measure how widely accepted various linguistic innovations have become. Such a measuring system for usage guides was first proposed by Louis G. Heller and James Macris in 1967. They noted that “usage specialists can make a clear-cut demarcation of phases in the evolutionary process relevant to the inception and development of alternative terms.”

In these tips, the five stages are tagged as:

Stage 1 (“rejected”): A new form emerges as an innovation (or a dialectal form persists) among a small minority of the language community, perhaps displacing a traditional usage (e.g.: “your” misused for “you’re”).

Stage 2 (“widely shunned”): The form spreads to a significant fraction of the language community but remains unacceptable in standard usage (e.g.: *”pour over books” for “pore over books”).

Stage 3 (“widespread but . . .”): The form becomes commonplace even among many well-educated people but is still avoided in careful usage (e.g.: “clinch” misused for “clench”).

Stage 4 (“ubiquitous but . . .”): The form becomes virtually universal but is opposed on cogent grounds by a few linguistic stalwarts (die-hard snoots) (e.g.: “often” pronounced “OF-tuhn”").

Stage 5 (“fully accepted”): The form is universally accepted (not counting pseudo-snoot eccentrics) (e.g.: “decimate” for inflicting large-scale destruction).

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129 Responses to Language-Change Index

  1. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  2. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regardless of whether. | My Blog

  3. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regiment. | My Blog

  4. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regardless. | My Blog

  5. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: register; registrar. | My Blog

  6. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  7. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: registrable. | My Blog

  8. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: registrate. | My Blog

  9. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regretful; regrettable. | My Blog

  10. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reify. | My Blog

  11. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  12. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rein; reign(2). | My Blog

  13. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rein; reign (3). | My Blog

  14. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reiterate, -tion; iterate, -tion. | My Blog

  15. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: relative to. | My Blog

  16. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  17. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: remorselessly. | My Blog

  18. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Remote Relatives (1). | My Blog

  19. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Remote Relatives (2). | My Blog

  20. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Remote Relatives (3). | My Blog

  21. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: remuneration. | My Blog

  22. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rend / rent / rent. | My Blog

  23. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: renowned. | My Blog

  24. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: repel; repulse. | My Blog

  25. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rescission. | My Blog

  26. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  27. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: resent. | My Blog

  28. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: restaurateur. | My Blog

  29. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  30. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: restive. | My Blog

  31. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: retch. | My Blog

  32. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: reticent. | My Blog

  33. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | My Blog

  34. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Retronyms. | My Blog

  35. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: revert. | My Blog

  36. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: revisionism. | My Blog

  37. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rewrite. | My Blog

  38. Pingback: My Blog

  39. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rhetoric. | LawProse Blog

  40. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rhyme; rime. | LawProse Blog

  41. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rid/rid/rid. | LawProse Blog

  42. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rife; ripe. | LawProse Blog

  43. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: riff; rift (1). | LawProse Blog

  44. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: riff; rift (2). | LawProse Blog

  45. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  46. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rite of passage; rite de passage. | LawProse Blog

  47. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: rock ‘n’ roll; rock-’n’-roll; rock’n’roll; rock and roll; rock-and-roll; rock & roll. | LawProse Blog

  48. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: role; roll. | LawProse Blog

  49. Pingback: LawProse Blog

  50. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: roof, n. | LawProse Blog

  51. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  52. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: routinize. | LawProse Blog

  53. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: row to hoe. | LawProse Blog

  54. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: ruin, n.; ruination. | LawProse Blog

  55. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sailor; sailer. | LawProse Blog

  56. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: | LawProse Blog

  57. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: couple (1). | LawProse Blog

  58. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: danglers (3). | LawProse Blog

  59. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: effect; affect. | LawProse Blog

  60. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: entomology; etymology. | LawProse Blog

  61. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  62. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: share. | LawProse Blog

  63. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sheath, n.; sheathe, vb. | LawProse Blog

  64. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shirk. | LawProse Blog

  65. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: shoo-in. | LawProse Blog

  66. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sic. | LawProse Blog

  67. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sight unseen. | LawProse Blog

  68. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  69. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: signee. | LawProse Blog

  70. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: simpatico. | LawProse Blog

  71. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  72. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: simulcast / simulcast / simulcast. | LawProse Blog

  73. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: since. | LawProse Blog

  74. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: single; singular. | LawProse Blog

  75. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  76. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: stricken. | LawProse Blog

  77. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: strike / struck / struck. | LawProse Blog

  78. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: stupefy. | LawProse Blog

  79. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (1). | LawProse Blog

  80. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: stymie; *stymy. | LawProse Blog

  81. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (5). | LawProse Blog

  82. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (6). | LawProse Blog

  83. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (7). | LawProse Blog

  84. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (8). | LawProse Blog

  85. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  86. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subjunctives. | LawProse Blog

  87. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: subsequently. | LawProse Blog

  88. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: substantive. | LawProse Blog

  89. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: such. | LawProse Blog

  90. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: suffice it to say. | LawProse Blog

  91. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: suffragist; suffragette. | LawProse Blog

  92. Pingback: Garner’s Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries | LawProse Blog

  93. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: supercede | LawProse Blog

  94. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Superstitions (1) | LawProse Blog

  95. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Superstitions (4) | LawProse Blog

  96. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries | LawProse Blog

  97. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Superstitions (5) | LawProse Blog

  98. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Superstitions (6) | LawProse Blog

  99. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Superstitions (7) | LawProse Blog

  100. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: supposable, suppositious, supposititious, suppositional, *suppositive | LawProse Blog

  101. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: surname; Christian name; forename; given name. | LawProse Blog

  102. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Swapping Horses. | LawProse Blog

  103. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: swing/swung/swung. | LawProse Blog

  104. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: swoon, vb. | LawProse Blog

  105. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: syllabification; *syllabication. | LawProse Blog

  106. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Synesis (1). | LawProse Blog

  107. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Synesis (2). | LawProse Blog

  108. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Synesis (3). | LawProse Blog

  109. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: tack; tact. | LawProse Blog

  110. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: take. | LawProse Blog

  111. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: taken aback. | LawProse Blog

  112. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: tantalize. | LawProse Blog

  113. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: temblor; trembler. | LawProse Blog

  114. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  115. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: tendentious (2) | LawProse Blog

  116. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: tenet | LawProse Blog

  117. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries. | LawProse Blog

  118. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Tenses (2). | LawProse Blog

  119. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (2). | LawProse Blog

  120. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (4). | LawProse Blog

  121. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (3). | LawProse Blog

  122. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: stride / strode / stridden. | LawProse Blog

  123. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: strew. | LawProse Blog

  124. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: say; state, vb. | LawProse Blog

  125. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: restrain; refrain. | LawProse Blog

  126. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Tenses (3). | LawProse Blog

  127. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Tenses (4). | LawProse Blog

  128. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: thank you (and its responses) | LawProse Blog

  129. Pingback: Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: that is. | LawProse Blog

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