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zompist bboard • View topic - "what with"

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 Post subject: "what with"
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:06 pm 
Sanno
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So what's with the "what with NP" construction? Is this simply an idiom or can we do better than that?

Examples culled from the wilds of the Internet:

"What with the population crunch and all, we're just reproducing ourselves[.]"

"What with the fire code I can't buy anything even if I have the money for it."

"The other solution is messy, what with the square root in it."

Obligatory Shakespeare citation:

"And such a flood of greatness fell on you,
What with our help, what with the absent king,
What with the injuries of a wanton time,
The seeming sufferances that you had borne,
And the contrarious winds that held the king
So long in his unlucky Irish wars
That all in England did repute him dead[.]"


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:28 pm 
Boardlord
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I don't know where it came from, but I can take the citation back two centuries, to Wyclif (1380):

Many..ben dede bi Þe weie, what wiÞ traueile & cold..& enemyes & ofte raunsonyd.

Though the OED does say that 'what used to be able to precede other prepositions:

[1340 Hampole Pr. Consc. 7100] What for sorow, and what thurgh smoke And what thurgh cald, and what thurgh hete.. Þai salle ay grete.


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:34 pm 
Sumerul
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and

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:37 pm 
Lebom
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^^"Give him what-for," might be an ossified use.


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:47 pm 
Avisaru
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"It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be said, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is.' Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
– The Gospel of Thomas


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:11 pm 
Boardlord
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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:25 am 
Lebom
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Location: Oslo, Norway
Wiktionary also lists "now" as an old meaning: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hw%C3%A6t. Could "what with" be an instance of that meaning, i.e. "now with"?


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:18 pm 
Sumerul
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most cases of 'what with', you can drop 'what' and it still works fine

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Siöö jandeng raiglin zåbei tandiüłåd;
nää džunnfin kukuch vklaivei sivei tåd.
Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei.


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:02 pm 
Lebom
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"No, thanks"::"No thanks"
What, with"::"What with"


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:15 pm 
Boardlord
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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:27 pm 
Avisaru
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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:01 pm 
Smeric
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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:13 pm 
Sumerul
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what with foo and all

also:
with the population crunch and all, we're just reproducing ourselves
?with the fire code I can't buy anything even if I have the money for it
(different?)The other solution is messy, with the square root in it.
so i guess i was wrong earlier, sort of?

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Siöö jandeng raiglin zåbei tandiüłåd;
nää džunnfin kukuch vklaivei sivei tåd.
Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei. Chei.


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:17 am 
Smeric
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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:52 am 
Boardlord
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Well, I don't agree... there's something different about "what with", though it's hard to put a finger on it. It seems more exasperated.

A better paraphrase for "What with..." might be "Having to deal with..."

It's not ungrammatical with positive stuff, but something seems off that way. But there may be a better way of thinking about it.


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:05 am 
Smeric
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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:08 am 
Sanno
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Blog:

But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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 Post subject: Re: "what with"
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:56 am 
Smeric
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Online dictionary for my conlang Vanga: http://royalrailway.com/tungumaalMiin/Vanga/

#undef FEMALE

I'd love for you to try my game out! Here's the forum thread about it:
http://zbb.spinnwebe.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36688

Of an Ernst'ian one.


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