I discovered in the free PDF version I downloaded from HERE* a use of the particle -soever, that I found odd. In my dialect (Northern Californian American English), there is one and only one acceptable use of -soever: 'whatsoever.' All other uses sound awkward or flat ungrammatical. But in this book, I discovered five distinct uses:
- 12 - whatsoever
- 8 - 'how X soever'
- 1 - whichsoever
- 1 - whithersoever
- 1 - 'as X soever'
- soever 4,170,000/222,000
- whatsoever 32,200,000/21,900,000
"what * soever" 13,200,000/25,300,000 (included whatsoever)
- howsoever 1,330,000/121,000
"how * soever" 9,750,000/654,000
- whichsoever 155,000/17,400
"which * soever" 13,600,000/664,000
- whithersoever 296,000/35,900
"whither * soever" 2,320,000/658,000
- "as * soever" 12,200,000/27
- whomsoever 1,380,000/231,000
"whom * soever"4,650,000/661,000
- wheresoever 637,000/67,400
"where * soever" 6,170,000/661,000
- whysoever 3,060/294
"why * soever" 6/14
Next, and last, I went to the trusty Time Magazine Corpus of American English. This lets me sketch the frequency of a word decade by decade over the last 100 years. I searched for the whole words only (not the "wh- * soever" constructions).
What these tables tell us (apart from the fact that whatsoever has always been the most frequent variation), is that all of these uses have been in use at some point over the last 100 years. (pssst, is it possible to download the data to a csv file or something so I can display the data in different ways, rather than screen grabs?).
Thus endeth the day's blogging.
*Try as I might, I could not find any info on who the translator was for this version. I choose not to follow that thought to its plausible conclusion.