Yellow fungus / Gelber Schwamm


If I’d got any closer to this I would probably have fallen into the Pegnitz (on its way to join the Rednitz and form the Regnitz). And then there wouldn’t have been a picture!

16 thoughts on “Yellow fungus / Gelber Schwamm

  1. Im linken und unteren Drittel, links neben dem Ast, der sich links vom Schwamm befindet. Er sieht aus wie ein rotes Auge. Er fliegt auf die Kamera zu oder ist vielleicht eingeklemmt.

  2. Surely the b) meaning is widespread in UK English, too, isn’t it? Or am I suddenly an American trained in the formal sciences and philosophy? (or simply confused).

  3. All I can say is I am not familiar with it, but the Language Log entry says it is being used by some British writers now.
    All I can do is ask any other British readers, especially those living in the UK now, to comment!
    Maybe I’m out of touch. American usage is constantly coming in, as I usually see from reading the Sunday papers.

  4. Meaning b) doesn’t seem familiar to me, but I have lived out of the country for almost 25 years.
    I wonder if there is a regional factor. I grew up in the Midlands.

  5. Perhaps people around me here in the US have been saying things like “In case I’m late, start without me” for years and I haven’t noticed . . . but I doubt it. “If” or “in the event (that)” are more likely.

    I certainly do hear Americans say “in case” in the alleged British usage (meaning lest) all the time. And Pullum’s examples of “just in case” strike me as recondite academic jargon; I can’t recall ever coming across an instance of it.

    Now that I’m a translator, the “in case” expression strikes me as very French. ‘En cas de’ (+ noun, of course) is one of the most overworked phrases in that language. I’m always happy to see ‘dans le cas o

  6. Bob: what you say confirms Pullum. He says the meaning ‘lest’ is normal and ‘if’ is new and academic. (Btw I avoided using the word ‘lest’ because this was not part of the daily vocabulary of my students).

    In case of + noun is not the problem – afaik that is treated the same way in AmE and BE.

    In case + verb meaning ‘if’ is at least mentioned by Longmans, and also by Collins English Dictionary. All I can say is that I have noticed it over the years as an American usage. It isn’t always evident, and that’s why it seems important to me: it can completely change the meaning of a phrase, without the reader realizing.

    Webster’s Third (1961?) gives both meanings:
    in case conj. 1. if it should happen that, supposing that, if – In case we are surprised, keep by me (Washington Irving)
    2. as a precaution against the event that – People still carry guns in case they need them (N Y Herald Tribune)

    That shows me that it’s only sometimes used as ‘if’ in AmE, but also that that usage is not that new.

  7. The academic use of “just in case” Pullum discusses doesn’t mean “if”; it means (as he says) “if and only if”, which is quite different. I (and I’m British) know the “if and only if” meaning from studying philosophy in the 70s. I’m not sure if the meaning is current in the formal sciences; I’ve not heard it outside of philosophical discourse. If AmE has a meaning “if” then I’m pretty sure that’s entirely distinct from the recondite “if and only if”. And the latter *must* have the “just”, while the former apparently need not.

  8. Peter: ah, that would explain my confusion at Geoff Pullum’s adding ‘just’. I haven’t met the usage you mention.
    But is it not an extension of the ‘if’ meaning? ‘In case’ = ‘if’, ‘just in case’ = ‘if and only if’? Thus not ‘entirely distinct’, I wonder?

    On a separate point, I have come to realize that I do not believe that the British use is quite properly described by ‘lest’. Or at least, I usually use ‘lest’ when I think something can be avoided.

    For example: ‘We’re tidying up the guest room in case they visit us’, not ‘We’re tidying up the guest room lest they visit us’.

  9. I’m guessing, but I don’t reckon “in case” meaning “if” comes from the academic “just in case” meaning “if and only if.” It seems too neat, and the latter meaning is very specialised. And I suspect that “In case I’m late, start without me” and “Just in case I’m late, start without me” would mean the same thing, in ordinary speech.

    I agree “lest” isn’t an exact synonym of “in case”. “I will take an umbrella, in case it rains” but “I will take an umbrella, lest it rain”. And “lest we forget” doesn’t usually mean “in case we forget” but more “to prevent us from forgetting”. But I guess “lest we forget” is an idiom, so doesn’t really count. (I mean, idioms tend to have meanings quite different from what their constituent words seem to say.)

    Glad you liked the website.

  10. Yes, I suppose ‘just in case’ in your philosophy sense is more likely to come from ‘in the case that’. I had suggeted ‘just in case’ came from ‘in case’, i.e. the reverse, but I agree the connection is probably not there.

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