'Alot' should be considered a valid word

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Giambattista, Jan 30, 2010.

?

Should "ALOT" be considered a word?

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    45.5%
  3. It doesn't really matter either way, people will use it if they want!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Anyone answering "Yes" should be guillotined.

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  1. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,878
    I think it's high time alot was granted wordship. To me, in one usage, it means "often".
    I go there alot = I go there often
    People use it in that fashion frequently, and using the other form "a lot" doesn't make as much sense if you think about it hard enough.

    Alot can also mean much. When you think about how people pronounce it, the article and the word might as well be contracted together. What's the harm?:shrug:

    There is no good reason alot shouldn't be treated as a valid word.

    I'm going to be defiant...
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Pinwheel Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,424
    And Winalot.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,878
    Thou mockest me.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,878
    Two whole votes for YES, 0 votes for NO!
     
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,899
    So we should also do it with other words that people can't be bothered to think about?
    Anidiot?
     
  9. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,878
    Doesn't have the same feel to it. Sorry.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    The word you want to create has two meanings, and they're the primary meanings of the original two-word phrase. From the American Heritage Dictionary:
    • Lot:
    • Definition 1, informal [i.e., the primary use of this word is in informal language, not the more formal uses such as "a dye lot" or "a piece of land."]
      [*]1a. A large extent, amount, or number. Often used in the plural: is in a lot of trouble; has lots of friends.[*]1b. Used adverbially with "a" or in the plural to mean "to a great degree or extent" or "frequently": felt a lot better; ran lots faster; doesn't go out a whole lot; has seen her lots lately.​
    This has happened many times in the English language. In the past it was usually because the two words together had taken on a new meaning that the original phrase did not have, such as "always" from "all ways" and "without" from "with out."

    In recent times it's more likely that a portmanteau word was created within a trade or profession, and cultural or technological evolution later brought the subject, and therefore the word, into common parlance, such as the accountant's "spreadsheet" tool or the "footrest" on a vehicle or other machine.

    We have seen one case (and I think the only case but let's look for more) of an article being joined to a word: "another." Curiously, this has been incorrectly parsed and back-formed into "a nother," so people say things like "I'd like a better nother one." But this is rare. The word was formed 800 years ago and I can't think of a single other (or "nother"

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ) formation like it. (In compounds like "aground" and "along" the "a" is an elision of "on.")

    I don't think you're going to get much support for your suggestion. "A lot" does not have a new meaning, and forming a compound word with an article runs counter to our sense of word building.
    The problem comes from the fact that English is a democratic language rather than an authoritarian one. There is no academy, government office or patriarch to tell us how to speak or write, whose authority we would obediently defer to. Our dictionaries, journalists and other writers and public speakers reflect the language of the people.

    If enough people use a new word like "humongous" it shows up in the dictionary and TV news. But to change a spelling is harder because you have billions of pages already printed the old way. Perhaps as the electronic age makes printing less common you will be able to convince people to use your spelling, but you'd have to convince a lot of them before all the web designers would start doing it your way. Besides, it's hard enough to teach children how to spell, why confuse them with two ways to write the same thing?

    And of course you have the problem that there are three Anglophone communities: India, the largest, the USA, the most influential, and the UK and most of the former Commonwealth, the most respected in matters of language. Getting them to agree is almost impossible.
    Tell it to the Queen.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  11. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    660
    I see nothing wrong with this contraction. Aren't contractions one of the useful aspects of the English language where you can put two words together to make a new word. I know that I am in the wrong here but, to me, the term "a lot" sounds singular while the word "alot" sounds plural. An example being; 'I had to select a lot from alot of lots'. Here "a lot" signifies a single part of a divided whole while "alot" signifies all the parts that make up the whole. Once again, I know that I am in the wrong but a sentance like; 'This subdivision has a lot of lots', looks and sounds incorrect to me.
    .
    Lets take the term "a bout" meaning a time or an influx. Now compare that with "about" meavning almost or roughly. Other than tradition, how is this contraction any different than "alot"? Other examples include, "a line" and "aline" or "a mend" and "amend". There is also "a lone" and "alone" or "a bridge" and "abridge". It's no suprize to me that "a lot" is often misspelled as "alot".
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    You should verify your etymologies before you post them. Dictionary.com is a good reference. All of these are incorrect.
    • "About" comes form Anglo-Saxon an- be- utan, three words which still exist in Modern English as "on but out." It has nothing to do with the indefinite article "a," nor with "bout," originally meaning "a bend," from the verb "bow." The similarities are all coincidence, which is a powerful force behind many folk-etymologies.
    • "Aline" is not a real word. It's a misspelling of "align," a French word we borrowed very recently (ca. 1700) with no native English background. It's from the Latin preposition ad- and the Latin noun linea, forming the verb lineare, "to line up." It has nothing to do with the English indefinite article. Again, the similarity is coincidence, something that is rampant when dealing with one- and two-letter morphemes, and which we should therefore be highly alert to avoid misinterpreting. There's also a very common Greek prefix a- or an- which means "without," as in "anonymous," "without a name."
    • "Amend" is another French word we picked up around 1200. It is from the Latin verb emendere, meaning "eliminate a flaw," from the prepositon ex "out" and menda, "blemish." Our verb "mend" is actually a back-formation from "amend," so your derivation is exactly backwards.
    • "Alone" is a contraction of "all one." You've parsed it wrong, another common engine of folk-etymology.
    • "Abridge" has nothing to do with bridges. Yet another coincidence. It's another French word we borrowed in the late 14th century, a French phonetic evolution of Latin abbreviare, obviously the source of our word "abbreviate." This verb, meaning "shorten," was formed from ad- (another guest appearance by this popular preposition) and the adjective brevis, whose meaning is obvious.
    If you look at all the compound words in English that start with the morpheme "a-", you'll find that the overwhelming majority are formed on the Latin prefix or Greek prefix--which have two different meanings. Only a large handful are formed on the Anglo-Saxon prefix an-, and so far I can only find one in which the "a-" is actually the indefinite article "a."

    "A" is a shortened form of "an" before words starting with consonants, which itself is a variant of "one" in an unstressed position. Compare German, in which the indefinite article is still pronounced ein, the same as the numeral "one," and is declined like any other adjective: ein, eines, einem, einen, eine, einer.
     
  13. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,878
    Popular definitions to words change over time. Plenty of words are not easily recognized or understood in the contexts they were used just a few hundred years ago. That doesn't mean we have to edit the "billions of pages" already printed.
    And there are words that have two concurrent, alternating spellings. I'm short of time and lazy or I would endeavor to find some examples! I don't see a problem with "a lot" and "alot" being two acceptable spellings of the same concept.

    British English is well known for alternate spellings, the most obvious being words that end in flavour instead of flavor. And they have completely different words or definitions in some cases that American English doesn't use. The three Anglophone communities as you call them (I'm not sure about India being truly separate from the British but I'll take your word for it) seem to have agreed to disagree already in quite a few instances.

    I guess I want to know where a common "misspelling" or slang term becomes an officiality. It seems that it's sort of arbitrary. Maybe I'm mistaken about how many people frequently use "alot". Do they do it alot?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I know I have for years. Always seemed natural to me.

    :fright:

    I'd like to drop my trousers to the Queen,
    Every sensible child will know what this means
    The poor and the needy are selfish and greedy
    On her terms

    And if the day came when....
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    32,775
    Then there's "allot" - to give out in small portions.
     
  15. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    Small correction: It doesn't necessarily mean "small" portions. It all depends on the total amount and the number of recipients.
     
  16. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    660
    Ya, I probably deserve that. :spank: It was early and I had to leave for my nieces birthday party. Lets put my awful examples aside.
    .
    a- (1)
    Old English: an, "on", as in alive, asleep, abroad, ashore, etc,. forming adjectives and adverbs from nouns; but it can also be Middle English "of", as in anew, abreast (1590s); or a reduced form of Old English past participle prefix "ge-", as in aware; or the Old English intensive "a-", as in arise, ashame, marking a verb as mamentary, a single event.
    .
    lot
    Old English: hlot, "object used to determine someone's share."
    Proto-Germanic: khlutom (cf. Old Norse: hlutr, "lot, share." Old High German: hluz, "share if land." Old English: hleotan, "to cast lots, to fortell."), of unknown origin.
    The word was adopted from Germanic into the Romanic languages (cf. lottery, lotto) and first attested c. 1200. The generalized sense of "great many" is first attested in 1812.
    .
    According to this we can use the Middle English form a-, meaning "of", and the Germanic to Romanic generalized sense of lot, meaning "great many" to create a new word alot, meaning "of great many".
     
  17. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,101
    No really a fair comparison. You can have the determinate form of idiot: the idiot.

    If you say 'the lot' you mean something completely different. 'Lot' is no longer the same kind of thing that you are now referring to a specific example of.

    Some of our single words came from two words. Why not another?
     
  18. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,101
    Some vaguely similar two words into one:

    already, altogether

    anything, something, nothing. (you can think of some similar examples with the same beginnings.

    inside, outside

    I think a good reason to merge it is the 'a' is hardly an article at this time. The phrase functions as one word.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    We don't speak Middle English so we don't create words using Middle English morphemes. We use only Modern English, Greek and Latin morphemes. We occasionally use morphemes from other living languages for diminutives, such as Spanish -ito, French -elle and Russian -nik, but we never pull things out of Middle English. Nobody knows Middle English except a few scholars.
    We don't need a new word pronounced "a lot" to mean "a great many" because we already have a phrase pronounced "a lot" that means "a great many."

    You probably want to eliminate the space to save one character in texpeak, right?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Remember: "Nothing worth reading was ever written by a man who was typing with his thumbs." -- Boondocks
     
  20. John99 Banned Banned

    Messages:
    22,046
    peopel say it as one one word so i cannot see why it should not be one word. i have accepted, long ago, that it is one word: alot.
     
  21. John99 Banned Banned

    Messages:
    22,046
    although, i woul not write it as one word because people are not accoeting of, perhaps, what i perceive as freedom. for ever hand there is another who will most assuredly look to tie it. he...he...he
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  22. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,296
    Heh! The way words are spoken, many combinations SOUND like a single word - like "peoplesay." Do you also consider that and "burgersandfries" as single words?????

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  23. John99 Banned Banned

    Messages:
    22,046
    well tbh, i thought it was one word up until about two years ago.

    some other strange usage (useage) is:

    i read books.
    i read (red) a book.

    i lead them.
    i led them.
    lead pencil

    There are others but i cant think of them right now.

    the spell checker says usage is correct but seems to me that it should be useage. i dont know what it is supposed to be though.
     

Share This Page