Ducks in a row (1938)

Fri Sep 6 15:32:17 UTC 2002

        And the carnival booth betokens organization how?

        I don't see that "in a row" says anything about the direction in which the ducks are facing.

        The duckling metaphor is intuitive, but it does have one problem:  The phrase is "ducks in a row," not "ducklings in a row," as it likely would be if in reference specifically to ducklings.  A second possibility is that it refers to migratory flights, in which the ducks follow the lead bird, generally in two straight lines making up a V.

        A third possibility is that it refers to shooting sitting ducks, that is, ducks that are on a lake and cannot quickly take off into flight.  Are there any hunters among us who can tell whether the hunter makes any effort to get the ducks "in a row" before shooting?

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: Alice Faber [mailto:faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU]
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 11:21 AM
Subject: Re: Ducks in a row (1938)

sagehen said:
>  Mark A. Mandel writes:
>>Going back to _Make Way For Ducklings_, as an exemplar of the
>>single-file behavior of momma duck and babies, I think that the duck
>>connection *is* semantically plausible (not that I have any citational
>>or other evidence for it). Momma duck is the leader and organizer of the
>>expedition.  Having the ducklings in a row following her is necessary to
>>its success.
>I dunno.  "In a row" to me suggests facing broadside, not follow-the-leader
>fashion in a file or line.

Agreed. I get an image of one of those carnival booths where you
shoot a duck (cut-out) and win a prize. The ducks are lined up (and
moving) facing you (the shooter).

Alice Faber                                             faber at
Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

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