already
Posted: 01 July 2013 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This is just a passing comment, but further comments would be interesting.

I noticed that slepinio in the “Ultimate Christian name” thread said, “you little brat, come here already, dinner’s getting cold!” which seems to be what OED describes as US Jewish usage, an intensifier.

In the UK, already means by now, and in South African English “already” is commonly used as OED says, for emphasis, as in “We did it a month ago already”, which I assume is a direct translation of the Afrikaans usage of “al” meaning already.  In the Caribbean, it apparently is also used for emphasis.

Does anyone here use “already” in any other sense, and if so, where?

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Posted: 01 July 2013 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From what I know, the word “already” comes from all+ready, so it should refer to all that is “ready” up to a certain point in time. Its primary and earliest meaning seems to be “by now/then” or “to this point”. The way I used it I got from American English. The only other meaning I can think of is “now” with an indication of “too soon” when I want to express surprise (It’s six o’clock already! I missed tea time!)

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 01:42 PM by slepinio ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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ElizaD - 01 July 2013 12:28 PM

This is just a passing comment, but further comments would be interesting.

I noticed that slepinio in the “Ultimate Christian name” thread said, “you little brat, come here already, dinner’s getting cold!” which seems to be what OED describes as US Jewish usage, an intensifier.

In the UK, already means by now, and in South African English “already” is commonly used as OED says, for emphasis, as in “We did it a month ago already”, which I assume is a direct translation of the Afrikaans usage of “al” meaning already.  In the Caribbean, it apparently is also used for emphasis.

Does anyone here use “already” in any other sense, and if so, where?

I think that the mother of this idiomatic use is the German “schon” which certainly means “already” but also tens of other senses and intensifiers, such as “Ich verstehe schon.” “I get the picture” [literally “I understand already"]

Thus “Jewish” (i.e. Yiddish) in common use in the US.

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 05:38 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 02 July 2013 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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etymonline.com confirms that:

Colloquial use in U.S. as a terminal emphatic (e.g. enough, already!) is attested from 1903, translating Yiddish shoyn, which is used in same sense. The pattern also is attested in Pennsylvania German and in South African.

In Polish there is also a word that is used in all the ways listed above, so I’m guessing that it is a common thing for a word to have all these meanings in many languages.

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