At least somebody knows what's what

Is a new turn of phrase properly called a neologism, or is that term exclusively reserved for new words? I just don't know.

Anyway, I've been wondering about the provenance of the phrase, "Can I help who's next?"

For all I know this unholy mishmash of "Can I help you?" and "Who's next?" has been around for years, but I first noticed it in Chicago last summer. Now it seems like I hear it every time I stand in line. I've learned that those who deploy the phrase are often uninterested in discussions of usage.

Luckily, there's Language Log. Apparently this is an example of the fused relative construction, which is all but extinct in English. Who knew?

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