People’s republic of redundant prepositions

Funny old world: just when I announce that this blog will henceforth be devoted to politics (ie money, sex, violence and food), Language Log goes and blogrolls me. Cool, cool, incredibly cool, but I know a secret agenda even when I’m on the drugs.

What this is really about is one Mr Liberman@LL kicking his way out of the linguists’ closet to emerge to the bold and free world of radical anythingarianism, in which he will be able to write about the nutritional value to humans of animal droppings more than once a day. Anyway, I feel I ought to play along a bit, so here, from a Vietnam News Agency report, is a jive and ticking prepositional verb that I’d only heard once before:

US Vice President concludes up China visit (04/15/2004 — 21:27GMT+7)

Nice! But then:

Beijing, April 15 (VNA) — US Vice President Dick Cheney left Shanghai for Seoul on Thursday, concluding his three-day working visit to China.

50%, silly people. However:

The United States and China share common interests and both are benefitting from bilateral cooperation,

… as in, for example, basic research in the field of prepositional verbiage. For this is something that also occurs in the US ( That concludes up our quick look at 2002), and the last time I heard it was when working for an American software company. However, it also goes on in the UK ( (UK): The FSA concludes up its ‘Reducing money laundering risk’ discussion paper this week), in other mortal jurisdictions, and, intriguingly, in the Great Upstairs (Him: The praying one concludes up the prayer with a great question.)

So who started it? And where will it all conclude up? Wait, I didn’t finish quoting that sentence:

said US Vice President Dick Cheney in his farewell speech session in China’s well-known Fudan University on Thursday.

Ah! The deity! Fudan! Now I understand! It’s all a Singapore Chinese Lutheran plot. Two crucial exhibits from a page detailing Bible seminars in that city-state:

  1. Dr. Henry Baldwin … is the dean of the School of Theology (English) at [Singapore Bible College]… His [1994] doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Improper Prepositions in the New Testament, Their Meaning, Use, and Their Exegetical Significance in Selected Instances”
  2. Dr. Choong Chee Pang. Dr. Pang taught part-time at SBC in 1972-1973. He also served as Principal and Dean of Trinity Theological College. His doctorate was earned at the University of Aberdeen. He serves as visiting Professor at Peking University and Fudan University in Shanghai.

QED, and now I wish they’d spend a bit less time on innovative grammar and a bit more on looking after that part of my degenerative grammar and grandpa fund that is invested in Greater China. The economic future of the planet is posited on the stereotype of the hard-working Chinese, but what if they all turn out to be lazy, useless, short-haired bloggers like…

I may have an interesting post on Orson Welles later on.

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