Issue 210, page 4

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From Richard R.:

Shakespeare's Falstaff:

Henry IV, Part Two: "I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men" (The Complete Signet Classic Shakespeare, ed. Sylvan Barnet [New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1972], 1.2.9-10)
 
Presumably this prompted Johnson's "He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others."

Well spotted, Richard!

From Susan W.:

With regard to the above 'word' [irregardless], I must say that thankfully I have never come across it here in the UK - yet! Who knows, it may cast an ugly sprawl over the journalistic establishment in the months ahead!

From Carolyn D.:

Iím Australian, and I concur with your North American reader; Irregardless is not a real word here either, rather, itís one of those truly annoying bastard words like agreeance and adaption that people use in meetings in an attempt to make themselves sound managerial!

From Ian:
 

Of course there is no accepted use of the word irregardless in Canada.
 
Furthermore, a simple dissection betrays any possible credibility. I'm rather surprised you didn't highlight the logic gap in your original response to the writer.
 
Regardless: It loosely gives the meaning 'without regard to'. As in "I'm going to stay up all night without regard to what mom says."
 
To have a word irregardless ('not without regard to')  is... well I'm going to call it illogical, but I'm sure the linguists have a proper term for this type of violation. (getting into "double-negative" type territory.)
 
Therefore, even if Canucks did permit irregardless as a word to mean "without regard to", we would be wrong.

We didn't discuss the reason that irregardless is wrong because we figured most, if not all, of our erudite readers knew immediately why it is wrong.  Don't want to insult our readers' intelligence!

From Chris E.:

I'm a Canadian, and a bit of a language nut (aren't we all, who read TOWFI?), and I can tell you, unequivocally, that irregardless is as much frowned upon here, as anywhere else in the world.  Simply, it is not a word.  Anyone who uses it is regarded as an illiterate.

From Frank:

I am surprised that you didn't mention the Latin nolens volens in your paragraph on the origin of the phrase willy nilly. Am I mistaken in my long-held opinion that the English term is a corrupted version of the Latin phrase?

We can find no evidence that the English term is a corruption of the Latin.  The Latin translates into "unwilling-willing" so the principle is the same, but the terms are not etymologically related. However, it could be that the Latin phrase influenced the appearance of its English equivalent, as they both first appear in the written record around the same time.  Nolens volens dates from the late 16th century in English.

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