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Posted: 04 October 2011 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, tells me via email that she’s proud of the survey’s outcome…

says today’s Guardian. Why not ‘by email’? When did via start and why? I may have mentioned this before - no one says I got a letter via the Royal Mail. It seems to imply a disinterested third party ie the internet, but are not postal services also that?

I got a letter through the mail/post (everyone nowadays would assume a letter was shreddable rather than deletable, however).
I got a message by email (does anyone say via in conversation?).
I got an email message in which Johanna…
I got an email in which Johanna…
Johanna told me in an email that she is proud of…

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Posted: 04 October 2011 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t know about you, but I say “via mail” or “via Canada Post” all the time. (I don’t say “via Royal Mail,” but I probably would if I was Rightpondian.)

The OED has via in the sense of “by means of” from 1930 (as opposed to “by route of"). The first citation is from American Speech, so I’m assuming it’s originally an Americanism. Maybe it came to the UK somewhat more recently.

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Posted: 04 October 2011 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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First time I saw “via” was on TV watching something that was broadcast “via satellite”.  Maybe it’s an electronics thing.

And maybe for the reporter to say a politician communicated “by e-mail” might sound like they are trying to trivialize it.  I mean, Sarah Palin sends stuff by e-mail, but Mitt Romney sends it via e-mail. 

Oh, and as I was about to click Submit Post, I noticed the little check box that says “Notify me via email when someone posts in this thread”!  Has it always said that?  [P.S. It’s checked but I never get any e-mails]

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Posted: 04 October 2011 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Oh, and as I was about to click Submit Post, I noticed the little check box that says “Notify me via email when someone posts in this thread”!  Has it always said that?  [P.S. It’s checked but I never get any e-mails]

Yes, it’s always been there. No, it doesn’t work.

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Posted: 04 October 2011 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well I think I’m gonna reroute my trip
I wonder if anybody’d think I’d flipped
If I went to L.A., via Omaha

Uneasy Rider
Charlie Daniels, 1973

Not an example of “by means of” but it’s common in American speech, though maybe a little fanciful at times. The extension to mail, electronic or otherwise, seems normal.

More here:

http://books.google.com/books?ei=h5WLTtuHJqmQsAKl2JGvBA&ct=result&output=text&id=aOcpAAAAYAAJ&dq=reid+telegraph+morse+memorial+rheostat&ots=rYAPJTlBJj&q=rheostat#v=snippet&q=rheostat&f=false

The Telegraph in America and Morse Memorial,
James D. Reid, 1886, pg. 871

… one-half going through the left half of the relay via the rheostat ...

Diagram included. Note that via is italicized in the text. (edit:) suggesting that the electronic use referenced here is unusual. The book uses via 57 times, almost invariably, from a quick scan, in the physical sense of laying telegraph lines via locations.

[ Edited: 04 October 2011 04:10 PM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 04 October 2011 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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"via email” seems a perfectly natural expression to me, but I’m not in your head, venousbede.

In the UK and Australia, via is pronounced vie-a rather than vee-a (sorry, I left my IPA keyboard in my other pants), but it seems to me that in the USA both pronunciations are in use. Is that correct?

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Posted: 04 October 2011 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If I went to L.A., via Omaha

That’s the traditional use of the word in English, “by way of, by this route.” This sense is attested in English going back to 1779. The Latin, of course, means “way, road.”

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Posted: 05 October 2011 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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it seems to me that in the USA both pronunciations are in use. Is that correct?

Yes.

The Latin, of course, means “way, road.”

Technically, it means ‘by the way/road’; it’s the ablative, with a long final -a, and was traditionally (in English) written viâ.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hey, since we are citaging about FB on another thread…

If Person A posts something, and Person B notices it and brings it to the attention of Person C, Facebook will tell Person C that he has received this information from Person B via Person A.

What the Zuck? Surely if anything the information has come from Person A via Person B.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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languagehat - 05 October 2011 06:01 AM

it seems to me that in the USA both pronunciations are in use. Is that correct?

Yes.

Is it a regional thing, or more something that varies from person to person within a region because of personal taste/experience.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dave Wilton - 04 October 2011 06:05 AM

I don’t say “via Royal Mail,” but I probably would if I was Rightpondian.

Since no other Briton has commented - I don’t think you would, actually. The BNC has NO instances of “via Royal Mail”, none of “via the mail” and only one of “via the post” meaning “in a letter”. The normal British constructions would be “through the post” or “in the post”, I think - “through the mail/in the mail” are not unknown but rare. Don’t know why we don’t refer to the service as “the Royal Mail”, but we don’t - it’s always “the post”, probably because it’s delivered by a postman (and they mostly are still men) and we buy the stamps from a post office (though they say “Royal Mail” on the outside). In addition, of course, our stamps don’t say “Royal Mail” on them (or even carry the name of the country, a privilege allowed us because we invented them), which may have reinforced the tendency to say “post” rather than “mail”. As for why we don’t say “via …” for postal messages, that’s Just One Of Those Things, I’d suppose.

“Via email”, though - it certainly sounds natural enough to me, and and I suspect it’s a construction I’d use. Can’t speak for other Britons, though.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’d say that a letter came by post because the Royal Mail ("the" came more naturally to me here) is the only postal deliverer of note in the UK.  However, because parcel deliveries are often made by private companies, I would probably say that the parcel came by Royal Mail (no “the” here - wonder why the difference?) or A N Other courier.  “Via” doesn’t sound strange to me, either.

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Posted: 05 October 2011 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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A tangent a best, maybe completely off topic: in this mornings Washington Post a staffer is reported as saying that the number of complaints about the USPS were about 20 to 1 sent by email [The staffer did not say ‘’via email” however.]

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Posted: 05 October 2011 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Technically, it means ‘by the way/road’; it’s the ablative, with a long final -a, and was traditionally (in English) written viâ.

Well, it’s also the nominative form (and the vocative too, but I don’t think there are too many instances of a writer addressing the road). That’s what I was going for, just listing the basic form of the noun.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Well, since “The Latin, of course, means ‘way, road’” followed “That’s the traditional use of the word in English, ‘by way of, by this route,’ it seemed to me you were at least in part implying the English was misusing, or at least changing, the Latin sense.  I guess that wasn’t the case.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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"no one says I got a letter via the Royal Mail.”

Except the website royalmail.com which says that you can send letters or postcards of up to 2kg “via air mail”.

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