14: Getting into, up for, and down with prepositions

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Nov 17 2017 36 mins   1.2k
Are you up for some prepositions? You might think you’re over prepositions, but have you ever really looked into them, or have you just gone by them? Other parts of speech notwithstanding, prepositions are something we’re really down with. In Episode 14 of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne introduce you to our favourite English grammar book, the mammoth, 1800-page Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (affectionately known as CGEL), and take a deep dive into its 60+ pages all about prepositions. We also explore how it is that a grammar can even have sixty pages of things to say about prepositions in a single language and how the tricky edge cases are what makes grammar so interesting. Plus, we look at cousins of the preposition in other languages, like case markers, postpositions, and even circumpositions, why prepositions are complicated to translate, and pied-piping, the prepositional structure named after a fairy tale. This month’s bonus episode is about how linguists solve the divisive question of what makes a sandwich a sandwich. We introduce prototype theory to solve sandwiches, explain how bats and penguins relate to the idea of ‘birds’, and explore other meaning questions. You can get access to it and previous bonuses about discourse markers, language games, hypercorrection, teaching yourself linguistics, and more by supporting Lingthusiasm at patreon.com/lingthusiasm We also now have Lingthusiasm merch! Check out our soft, patterned IPA scarves in red, olive, and navy; shiny Lingthusiasm logo stickers; and mugs, t-shirts, and tote bags that say NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT at lingthusiasm.com/merch. Thanks so much to everyone who spent the month recommending and reviewing Lingthusiasm to celebrate our first anniversary this episode! We had the ambitious plan to get the show past 100,000 listens, but we knew we could only do it if you helped to introduce Lingthusiasm to new ears. You stepped up and helped us get there right on schedule! If you left a recommendation or review in public, we’ll thank you by name or pseudonym on our special anniversary post next week. If you recommended us in private, we obviously don’t know about it, but we hope you still feel a warm glow of satisfaction. For the links mentioned in this episode, check out our shownotes page at: http://lingthusiasm.com/post/167572233831/lingthusiasm-episode-14-getting-into-up-for-and