COME vs GO

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Nov 17 05:36:38 UTC 2000


At 11:50 AM -0800 11/17/00, Salikoko Mufwene wrote:
>
>      I have been thinking and believe that the constraint applies in
>other cases too. If you are puritanistic you may want to skip this
>paragraph and not come/go/get into the following considerations with
>me. In sexual intercourse a man can only tell his partner that he is
>coming, not going, I suppose. His partner naturally can only invite
>him to come.

Hope you're not presupposing that only a male partner gets to do so!
(There's also the fact that excretory, as opposed to sexual,
functions are referred to as 'going' rather than 'coming', whence a
collection of jokes that, it being lunchtime in some parts of North
American, I'll spare you the details of but have to do with someone
who didn't know if s/he was coming or going.)

More seriously, the kinds of variables with respect to 'come' and
'go' you mention in your post are discussed in a nice paper by Eve
Clark in Language (50: 316-32, 1974) called "Normal States and
Evaluative Viewpoints", which contains a whole bunch of minimal pairs
where coming is possible but going isn't, or vice versa.

--larry
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