The Heraclitean fragment cited in the previous post lends itself to a further explication as it bears on the nature of speech, as follows.
When Heraclitus says of palintropos harmoniē that it is “like that of the bow and lyre,” one can take it as a description of physical events that apply to these two “instruments” with respect to the movement of a string in each case: the string returns to a state of rest after being drawn or plucked, and harmony is thereby reestablished. Although this explanation is not countermanded by any other and does not itself contradict any figuratively oriented one, still the fragment might be more generally explicated by referring it to the cultural circumstances of a poetic competition. It would, in other words, represent a Heraclitean figuration of the polyphonic nature of speech—and, by extension, of men and the world—all of which are in their essence defined by a form of conflict that requires an ultimate resolution. If one were to say that Heraclitus is the first great master of artistic prose, then he might also be called the first polyphonic author.
For modern readers (let alone for Heraclitus) the word palintropos could allude to the figurative meaning of bow and lyre in virtue of its use of -tropos (‘turning’) to configure tropes or metaphors. “A thing at variance with itself” would be a particularly apt and profound way of describing the ontology of a trope, in which the opposition of figural and literal meaning must simultaneously be present and resolved. A text of this sort––no matter how fragmentary––requires the same approach.
My hero, Charles Peirce, rightly says that logic exists in the service of ethics, and ethics in the service of aesthetics. Following this triadic characterization of the foundations of knowledge, both language and music, in order to be good and beautiful, must be underpinned by well-formedness, alias logic. Thus even a child’s grammatically and lexically well-formed utterance is to be deemed superior to an adult’s cacoglossic one, just as the harmonically grammatical commercial jingle always puts the typically cacophonic piece of contemporary classical music to shame. In this matter, my favorite pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus “The Obscure” (of “No man ever steps in the same river twice” fame), has something pertinent to say.
One of Heraclitus’ most famously enigmatic fragments goes like this:
Οὐ ξυνίασι ὅκως διαφερόμενον ἑωυτῷ ὁμολογέει·
παλίντροπος ἁρμονίη ὅκωσπερ τόξου καὶ λύρης.
Ou xyniasin hokōs diaferomenon heoutoi homologeei palintropos harmoniē hokōsper toxou kai lyres.
(“They do not comprehend how a thing agrees at variance with itself [literally how being brought apart it is brought together with itself]; it is an attunement turning back on itself, like that of the bow and the lyre.”)
This fragment is typical of Heraclitus’ forma mentis in that it begins with a negation (“They do not comprehend”) that seems to be a polemical retort to and denial of some prior position held by others. This immediately engages dialogism as a constitutive principle of the form of Heraclitus’ utterance. Leaving aside the phrase “at variance with itself” for the moment, what is crucial to the interpretation of the whole fragment is the combination palintropos harmoniē (backward-turning structure [attunement/connection]). The original sense of harmoniē seems to have been joining or fitting together, and that is the way it is used by Homer and Herodotus among others in the context of carpentry or shipbuilding. But harmoniē also has from the beginning a figurative meaning—“agreements” or “compacts” between hostile men (as in the Iliad)—from which it can move to the connotation of reconciliation (personified, for instance, as the child of Ares and Aphrodite in Hesiod’s Theogony). Finally, harmoniē occurs in the familiar musical sense of the “fitting together” of different strings to produce the desired scale or key.
It is in this final sense that speaking harmoniously is accordingly a matter of fitting together the bow and the lyre. But in order to be aesthetically pleasing, language use must be undergirded by both ethics and logic. This is where Heraclitus joins hands with Peirce.
Every language has ways of emphasizing all or parts of utterances, either by altering the phonological makeup of words (phonological emphasis) or by inserting or repeating words (lexical emphasis). In English the most common mode of emphasis is (1) lengthening stressed vowels or adding stress where it is otherwise absent (hypermetrical stress); and (2) lengthening stressed or unstressed vowels or both. This can be observed in items like /pəˈliːz/(sometimes written puhleeze) for please, i. e., pronounced with an epenthetic (inserted) semi-stressed schwa vowel between the initial consonants and an extra-long stressed vowel on what is now the second syllable. Any word that denotes the extreme grade of anything, typically an adjective, can be emphasized by pronouncing the stressed vowel with greater length, as in way (meaning ‘very’), huge, enormous, etc. The intonational contour of that part of the utterance that contains the emphasized element will vary accordingly, i. e., with a greater rise and fall than usual.
Lexical emphasis takes place when a word typically meaning the high or ultimate degree of anything so qualified is inserted, e. g., very, huge, utter, terrific, and nowadays the ubiquitous absolute(ly). This latter, particularly in its adverbial form, has come to be practically a verbal tic in some speakers of American English, to the point where it stands as a routine substitute for the plain affirmative yes. This has the unwelcome effect of producing the impression that the utterer has no means of distinguishing assertion from emphasis, which in the final analysis is a failure of thought and thus reflects negatively on the intelligence of the speaker.
Every culture regards words as special things, and languages often reflect this view by qualifying them through the affixation of adjectives; or by contrasting them with non-verbal realia, typically animals. Thus in English we have winged words, fighting words, leaden words, etc., etc.
One feature of the spoken word from the perspective of folk wisdom and the traditional agrarian milieu in which proverbs and sayings arise is the irretrievability of words once uttered. Thus in Russian one says: Слово не воробей, вылетит (выпустишь)—не поймаешь (slovo ne vorobej, vyletit/vypustish’-––ne pojmaesh’), literally: ‘a word is not a sparrow; if it flies out/if you release it, you won’t catch it’; or in Japanese (courtesy of Jacobus Primus): 駟も舌に及ばず (shi mo shita ni oyobazu, which goes back to Confucius’ Analects)––literally: ‘even a four-horse team/carriage is not the equal of/cannot catch up with a tongue’. Ergo: Watch what you say!
While it is undoubtedly true that every speaker of a language possesses unique traits of speech production that constitute what is called an idiolect, it is nonetheless also true that native speakers of any language adhere to certain statistical norms in producing speech that are characteristic of that language. These norms are what make it possible for speakers to identify linguistic tokens of a given language as authentically English, German, Russian, etc., although they may not be able to state what these norms are. It is also what enables speakers to make correct judgments about speech that deviates from authentic instances of native speech.
The intuitive grasp of statistical norms of speech production is illustrated by the following occurrence on the streets of New York, where over eight hundred languages are purportedly spoken at the present time. YHB was walking west on East 71st Street in Manhattan a few yards behind a woman pushing a stroller, close enough to hear her speaking on a cell phone without being able to tell what she was saying. To a native speaker of Russian able only to recognize the intonation and the general phonetic profile of speech being produced “into the air,” it was still possible to make an educated guess that the woman with the stroller was speaking Russian. This guess was indeed confirmed when the distance between speaker and hearer became narrow enough for the language to be recognized.
In the same way, every person with a sufficient command of a language (and not just native speakers) can identify a foreign accent, although the ability to “place” the accent varies with individual linguistic acuity and experience. Some foreign accents are so common and so broad as to be routinely identifiable without difficulty. These are the accents that commonly lend themselves to mimicry and to theatrical imitation for comic or parodic effect.
In the last fifty years or so, increasingly in the last decade, the English word ICON, in the meaning of a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or worthy of admiration or respect, has become a journalistic buzzword. It is unclear exactly how this new meaning developed. What is clear, however, is its historical connection with the trichotomy icon/index/symbol, introduced in 1885 by Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) as part of his theory of signs. The origin and initial spread of the new meaning can perhaps be attributed to certain influential books by Peirce’s popularizers. But this (transferred) sense no longer answers to its proper meaning in Peirce’s theory. In one investigator’s words (T. L. Short, Peirce’s Theory of Signs, p. 209),
“Peirce’s concept of an icon is subject to misunderstanding because that word is used today for any visual image, especially if highly conventionalized, that has a readily recognizable reference. That usage owes more to ‘iconology’ in art history and the use of ‘ikon’ in the Eastern Orthodox Church than it does to the Greek root of the word to which Peirce appealed. A conventionalized image has a reference that is essentially symbolic.”
Then, dilating on the fact that since visual images “mean what they do because of a conventional rule of interpretation, they are visual symbols, not icons in Peirce’s sense,” Short goes on to say (229-230): “More confusing still is the new journalistic practice of calling any readily recognized person, building, and so on, an ‘icon’. But that is so inexcusable and bereft of definite meaning as not to deserve further mention.”
Whether or not one agrees that the practice is “bereft of definite meaning,” there is no doubt that the constant bleating of ICON in today’s media is utterly noisome. But then how to explain its popularity?
Putting one’s disgust aside and examining the question of origins is a good start. One who knows nothing of the history of ICON in English might be tempted to say that the contemporary meaning is simply a semantic extension deriving from the word’s synonymy with the word idol––in consonance with Webster’s Unabridged––and leave it at that. But this would also be skirting the issue of buzzwordhood.
While it is clear that Peirce was the one that first used the word as part of his sign taxonomy, the paths by which the extension occurred are not. I venture to say that the journalistic meaning was engendered by the semeiotic one, most probably via (1) the propagation of Peirce’s work in Charles K. Ogden and I. A. Richards’ influential The Meaning of Meaning (1923), which included an appendix with extensive quotations from Peirce’s letters to a British writer, Victoria Lady Welby, referring to Peirce’s sign theory. Their correspondence during the years 1903-1911 is the source of some of Peirce’s most important statements about his SEMEIOTIC, as he called it, following Locke. (Ogden became acquainted with Peirce while still a Cambridge undergraduate through his contacts with Lady Welby); (2) the adoption (while misconstruing the theory) of Peirce’s terminology by Charles Morris in his influential book, Foundations of the Theory of Signs (1938); and (3) the appearance and widespread penetration of The Verbal Icon (1954) by the foremost theorist of the New Criticism and follower of Richards, William K. Wimsatt.
This leaves the main question unanswered. Perhaps we would do well to recall the word’s sound structure, as detailed here in a post from July 15, 2011 (“The Hidden Homophony in ‘Icon(ic)”), to wit:
“The terminologization of icon in computer-speak could be a contributory factor, but a more proximate cause may lurk in something virtual, viz. the homophony of the initial vowel with the words I and eye. Nothing is more important to the notional content of the contemporary meanings of icon and iconic than their epitomic connotations of SELFHOOD (as embodied in the first person singular pronoun), and of SEEING (as embodied in name of the organ of sight). This explanation rises in plausibility when seen as a variation on Euclid’s pons asinorum as applied to language.”
Every speaker has their own way of speaking, which is called an idiolect. Repetition of certain words or expressions can rise to the status of a characteristic feature of an idiolect when it is of sufficient frequency to be classed a verbal tic. For instance, one can hear native speakers of American English inserting the name of the addressee of an utterance––or some non-onomastic substitute like “honey,” “baby,” or “darling” (a loving husband speaking to his wife)––at such a rate as to be self-reflexive (call attention to the utterer). Perhaps such behavior is an instance of linguistic adaptation, wherein the history of interpersonal relations between two speakers (such as husband and wife) has habituated one or both to constantly reinforce the feeling of intimacy that assures communicative solidarity. This puts this species of language use solidly in the phatic and emotive categories and scants the referential one.
Another sort of verbal tic is the prefacing of practically every utterance with phrases like “incidentally” or “by the way.” What could this mean? The only explanation that comes to mind is some kind of mental habit that transforms every linguistic exteriorization of thought into a tag or comment on what the speaker was thinking just before the utterance, regardless of the fact that the addressee had no access to it. This manner of language use can only be a sign, as with other verbal tics, of a self-reflexive focus on the speaker. Such linguistic signs are all autotelic (“introversive” rather than “extroversive”) and communicate information about the utterer’s mental state rather than anything referential. Only when recognized as part of the emotive component of the communicative situation do such tics become understandable as manifestations of linguistic behavior.
Every language has perfunctory linguistic tokens meant to accompany or acknowledge an act of some kind. The expression of thanks and its customary retort are perhaps the most common such species in the class of what are called performative speech acts. Sometimes these tokens are old enough to have grown opaque to the point of meaninglessness, as with the word welcome uttered by itself or in the phrase from which it is derived, you are/ you’re welcome, as a polite formula used in response to an expression of thanks. This formulaic utterance seems to have originated in American English in the beginning of the 20th century but has since spread to other varieties of English.
All the European languages also have some variety of acknowledgement of thanks that is equivalent to English not at all, don’t mention it, e.g., Spanish de nada, German (das) macht nichts, Russian ne stoit (не стóит [благодарности]), etc. In contemporary colloquial American English one also often hears no problem with the same function.
The linguistically most interesting of these specimens is undoubtedly you’re welcome because welcome has such a wide range of meanings. Here is its etymology from The Oxford English Dictionary Online:
Etymology: Originally Old English wilcuma ( < wil- , will- will, desire, pleasure + cuma comer, guest) = Old High German willicomo , Middle High German and Middle Low German willekome , -kume (whence Old French wilecome ), with subsequent alteration of the first element to wel- well adv. and n.4, and identification of the second with the imperative or infinitive of the verb come, under the influence of Old French bien venu, bien veigniez, Latin bene venisti, bene venias, etc., . . . .
Why welcome as a response to the expression of thanks? The first interpretation that comes to mind is the gloss “your thanks are welcome,” wherein the component “your thanks” is understood to have become identified with the UTTERER, hence “you’re/you are welcome.” In other words, just as in the case of “thanks” as a reduced form of “my thanks” or “I thank you,” you’re welcome is at bottom a product of TRUNCATION. Otherwise it makes no grammatical sense. But such quasi-meaninglessness is typical of linguistic tokens that are purely performative.
The external/internal opposition is absolutely crucial to the problem of style exactly the same way that it is to tropes because style has a double focus. The first focus, which is metonymic, is external. There must be a perceived difference (as in a taxonomy) between a particular phenomenon that is ultimately to be understood as a stylistic datum and one or more other phenomena with which it is comparable by virtue of belonging to the same (natural) class. The existence of variability (and of recurrence) is, of course, presupposed.
It is in this respect that the formula “style is the regard that what pays to how” becomes pertinent; the how would be indistinguishable from the what without a variability of the how. Here is an example from modern British fiction. Specifically it has to do with the interpolation of narrative material between bits of direct discourse in the stories of P. G. Wodehouse:
“Hey! what’s this? what’s this?” Old Rowbotham had lowered his cup and was eyeing us sternly. He tapped Jeeves on the shoulder. “No servility, m’lad, no servility.”
This sort of thing is a hallmark of Wodehouse’s style. He habitually breaks up and delays the temporally sequenced utterances of his characters by interspersing narratorial matter. Particularly when this strategy contrasts with the way people actually talk, but not only, the degree of regard that the what pays to the how is heightened:
“This is Oswald,” said Bingo.
“What,” I replied cordially, “could be sweeter?
How are you?”
This Wodehousean stylistic feature has a clearly external focus. It is directed outward to a different sentence structure with which it is immediately paired by implicit contrast, one lacking the interpolation. In having an external focus, temporally discontinuous direct discourse as a stylistic datum relies in the first instance on its metonymic representation of unbroken direct discourse, to which it is opposed. What might be circumscribed loosely as its cognitive aspect is untouched by the utterance’s being discontinuous, but its affective aspect is. Without this second component the syntax in Wodehouse would not rise to the status of a stylistic datum. It does so by utilizing the existence of a virtual (implied) contrast to establish a hierarchy between itself and its nonaffective counterpart.
What, then, given the metonymic focus of style as a foundation for its perception and evaluation as such, corresponds to the metaphoric focus of style? If style establishes or instantiates a hierarchy between referential/denotative elements, which accounts for its being perceived as style, what sort of hierarchy does style reverse or neutralize as between significational/connotative elements, accounting thereby for its symbolic functioning? The answer to this question involves the relationship between stylistic and nonstylistic value that can loosely be correlated with affective and cognitive content. More precisely, in style the affective content supersedes the cognitive, which is tantamount to saying that the affective meaning is made to dominate the cognitive.
It is specifically this process of ranking that is meant in my definition of style as a trope of meaning. This formulation also has the notable effect of partly vindicating the widespread understanding of style as an affective superstructure (but not an “annex,” as R. Jakobson would have it) that dominates the nonaffective (“neutral”) information inhering in any work that is taken to have stylistic purport. It is important to recognize as something organic to the nature of style that the definition of affective (“stylistic”) and nonaffective (“nonstylistic”) rests on a circularity that is hermeneutically systematic: the hierarchy that utilizes these categories and the meaning of these categories are in a relation of biuniqueness or mutual implicature.
Consequently, it is not enough for style to remain at the metonymic level if it is to be more than an index and to rise to the status of a symbol, thereby becoming part of the symbolic content of the work, text, performance, etc. In every case, the symbolic content also immediately adheres in varying degree as a characteristic mark to the author, producer, creator et al. of the entity in which style is embedded.
Narratorial incisions might seem like a trivial example, but it is the cumulative force of just such details that contributes teleologically to the impact of style on understanding. Such details are in fact very frequently the metonymic symptoms of much larger symbolic complexes. In music, for instance, the interpretative significance of a performance often hinges on the treatment of what might at first sight appear to be merely a technical matter.
As a clarinetist myself I can cite the stylistic impact of a marked vibrato sound contrasted with sounds produced without vibrato. A clarinet tone that does not waver is overwhelmingly a mark of the classical style. In the recent history of classical clarinet performance the consistent promiscuous use of vibrato is associated notably with the British clarinetist Reginald Kell (one of Benny Goodman’s teachers) and has been continued in our own time by the virtuoso Richard Stoltzman. On the analysis I have presented, it is easy to see that the vibrato style is not primarily a particular physical manifestation of musical sound because it has come to be identified as a musical value. But what is important to notice beyond that fact is the parallelism of structure between the symbolic value of a particular way of performing music and the symbolic functioning of language in literature. Just as in the Wodehouse examples, the employment of what appears to be a particular “device” or “technique” rises to the status of a stylistic datum in the genuine sense when it symbolically configures a whole semantic world together with its system of values. In the case of the clarinet, one of the properties of such a world is an adherence to the meaning of “classical” (strictness of interpretation vis-à-vis tradition), a perpetuation of the received value system whose terminus a quo is a certain corpus of musical classics, and possibly even a whole worldview that includes a more determinate, culturally conservative attitude to art and life.
Such a global attitude might, for instance, have serious implications for the way in which other types of music––like jazz––are regarded. With reference to the clarinet, which is also a jazz instrument, the resort to vibrato tends to lead to an openness and receptivity to jazz as a system of musical values. This in turn has the effect of influencing the production and evaluation of performances of classical music.
The very term “classical” is a reminder that style cannot be understood except in historical perspective, retrospectively. As one perceptive analyst of style (B. Lang) has noted, “style, it seems, is never pristine, never without historical reference; it never reveals an object without also revealing a genealogy of means. For style, intentionality is destiny.” But the historical embeddedness of style is not just an account of origins; it enters into its ontology and into its structure in the same crucial way that comparability, selection, combination, and hierarchy do. Recurring to the discussion of the structure of tropes, I can now amplify and complete the parallelism established between style and troping by mentioning the “life cycle” of tropes, which can now be renamed “life spiral” to reflect the cumulative and complementary nature of the changes involved in their structural interrelations.
The analogous feature to be discerned in such changes for the purposes of an inquiry into style is the delineation of a life spiral. The original metaphor fades and dies. When a revivification takes place by means of a rehierarchization of the signata (meanings) in a new figural syntagm, there is a return to tropehood. The process has come full circle, and the possibility henceforth exists for the initiation of a new voyage from metonymy and/or metaphor to paronomasia via idiomatization, lexicalization, and petrification. (Note the obvious analogy with fashion, as in clothing.)
Style starts out as an innovation linked to an individuated creative act that defines its uniqueness by establishing a hierarchical contrast with some relevant aspect of norm or custom. This external connection––a metonymization––is invariably accompanied by or results soon thereafter in the reevaluation of the datum’s place in the overall system of which it is a part. In order to go beyond its incipiency as a piece of style, the datum must effect a reversal of its status: it must cease to be primarily a fact of physical substance and become one of symbolic form. In short, it must be metaphorized.
Petrified stylistic features in artifacts and texts from historically remote epochs and cultures are often the only source for subsequent recovery of meanings and values. Just as the teleology inherent in the relation of phenomena to ends leads ineluctably to the triumph of Law or Custom or Norm, so the lexicalization of tropes and the normalization of styles furnish us with the grounds for describing and evaluating those objects that are the material representatives of a culture’s or civilization’s spiritual legacy.
The singling out of hierarchy as the definiens of style in parallel to the alignment of rank relations involved in troping places style and its function squarely in the supervening domain of order and rationality, since in this understanding style “makes appeal to extralinguistic and extra-stylistic values, to the harmony and coherence of a work of art, to its relation to reality, to its insight into the meaning of life; and hence to its social and generally human import” (R. Wellek).
The parallelism of structure between style and troping makes perspicuous the understanding of style as figuration. It is very much to the point to recall the connection between style and person that is emblematized in Buffon’s famous dictum “le style est [de] l’homme même” (‘style is [of] the man himself’). Defining style as figuration points in the direction of and ultimately substantiates Buffon’s insight but does so through an emphasis on FIGURE (Latin figura), specifically in its meaning of the human form. Recalling also that Latin fingere has a whole constellation of meanings that center on notions of moulding (as from wax, clay, or molten metal), creating, producing, and arranging as applied to the most diverse matter, including works of art and literature, it becomes possible to assert the natural union of style, figuration, and personhood or humanity. Interpreting this bond for its overarching conceptual purport, we can conclude that humanity and figuration imply each other: being human means being a “figuring animal,” and being able to “figure” means being human.
The analysis of style as figuration, as a trope of meaning, will remain in the status of an interesting thought experiment so long as no practical consequences flow from it. It is therefore appropriate to suggest in conclusion what the most important of these are.
First, what transpires is the centrality of ranking, of hierarchization, to any stylistic analysis. The ranking of features or elements of the “work” is not optional, either from the viewpoint of the work’s immanent structure or that of the analyst’s methodology or procedure. Anyone seeking to discover and describe the style of a work must attend explicitly to the matter of hierarchy, to the rank relations among the elements or features uncovered.
Second, and as a direct corollary of the first, the analysis implies that there is no such thing as “value-free” criticism––whatever the artistic or behavioral sphere––just as there is no value-free perception or conceptualization. This may seem an unsurprising consequence unless one recalls the whole recent history of the (largely sterile) debate over value in art and literature. Style understood as figuration coheres perfectly with the notion that all works are hierarchical by their very nature. The identification of hierarchy with value, coupled with the conception of style as emanating from the ranking of values, means that the avoidance of value as a goal of criticism can only result in a distortion of the nature of the object being studied, hence in bad criticism.
In the sense that style has now come under the compass of figuration, it ceases to be essentially a series of accoutrements (i. e., an adstructure) and assumes its rightful place as a central species of meaning through symbolization.
All languages tend to develop in a certain direction, which can be characterized by the technical term diagrammaticity, denoting a closer fit between form and meaning, or more accurately, between sets of forms and sets of meanings, since a diagram (in Peirce’s semeiotic) is an icon of relation. When a word or phrase seems to go against this principle, a change may occur––first in popular speech, then gradually in most if not all styles––that reflects a reinterpretation of the unrecognizable or ill-suited elements of the word or phrase in question. This process is instantiated in what goes by the name folk etymology (a calque [loan translation] of the German Volksetymologie). For example, the modern word bridegroom is the result of folk etymology: in Old English it was brydguma ‘bride-man’, but when the Old English word guma ‘man’ (cognate with Latin homo) fell out of use, the latter was reinterpreted as groom. Here is a description of the process from the OED:
Etymology: α. Old English brýdguma, < brýd, bride n. + guma ‘man’ (poetic) < *Old Germanic gumon-, cognate with Latin homin-. The compound was Common Germanic: compare Old Saxon brûdigomo (Middle Dutch brûdegome, Dutch bruidegom), Old High German brûtigomo (Middle High German briutegome, German bräutigam), Old Norse brûðgumi (Swedish brudgumme, Danish brudgom) < Old Germanic *brúđigumon-; not preserved in Gothic, which has brûþfaþs = ‘bride’s lord’. β. After gome n. became obsolete in Middle English, the place of bridegome was taken in 16th cent. by bridegrome, < grome, groom n. ‘lad’.
The contemporary American phrase stomping ground, in the meaning of ‘a place where one habitually spends/spent much of one’s time’ is the product of folk etymology in two respects. First, the form of the verb, viz. stomp, is an American dialectal version of the English stamp, which has replaced the original in most meanings. Second, the original meaning of stamping ground(s) referred to a place where animals (esp. cattle) habitually gathered, as in this example from the OED: “1862 Harper’s Mag. June 34/1, I found myself near one of these ‘stamping grounds’, and a simultaneous roar from five hundred infuriated animals gave notice of my danger.” A dwindling minority of speakers of American English still preserve the original form of the phrase, but its complete replacement by the newer one is inevitable.