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OT: Fun, was Re: First thoughts on Imperial

From:Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>
Date:Saturday, July 19, 2003, 21:55
In a message dated 7/17/2003 11:03:37 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
ianspackman@BTINTERNET.COM writes:

>Of course, there is in English a definite noun-adj slippery slope, which >for instance "fun" slipped down in the twentieth century. (Obviously it >varies by dialect, but roughly to my parents' generation "fun" is clearly a >noun (and so "funner" is an abomination); for me "funner" is marginal; and >for the generation younger than me fun has become an adjective and so >"funner" is perfectly normal. But the very fact this change is perceptible >requires two PsOS.
I'm not sure that it's accurate to say that "fun" was a noun and not an adjective for people within, say, the last century. I think even people who reject "funner" and "that was a fun party" accept "That party was fun", where "fun" looks to me like a predicate adjective. Anything you might naturally substitute for "fun" in that sentence is an adjective : "That party was great/wonderful/exciting." OK, conceivably you could say "That party was excitement", with a noun, but that's more than a bit peculiar. Therefore, I think it's more accurate to say that "fun" was formerly a defective adjective that couldn't be used attributively and had no comparative, rather than to say that it was a noun and not an adjective. (Of course, if your parents reject "That party was fun" then none of this applies.)


Ian Spackman <ianspackman@...>