beyond the pail

mark worden mworden at WIZZARDS.NET
Fri Mar 7 22:28:29 UTC 2003

> On 7 Mar 2003, at 16:25, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > At 1:58 PM -0500 3/7/03, Duane Campbell wrote:
> > >On Fri, 7 Mar 2003 09:37:11 -0800 Anne Gilbert <avgilbert at PRODIGY.NET>
> > >writes:
> > >
> > >>  While "bucket" and "creek" are more usual(nowadays, at least), in My
> > >>  Fair
> > >>  State of Washington, I've actually *heard* "pail" and "crick" --
> > >
> > >I have been watching this thread with hope of enlightenment, in vain so
> > >far. Are you people saying that there is something non-standard about
> > >"pail"? I have always used "pail" and "bucket"  (PA and NY) as exact
> > >synonyms and never considered that there was anything regional about
> >
> > Are you sure you use them as exact synonyms?  I have both words in my
> > active lexicon (NY), but if I'm going to build sand castles on the
> > beach (LI), I will bring my (plastic) pail (with or without shovel),
> > but not a bucket.  I think (although with less confidence) that
> > wooden ones are buckets rather than pails for me ("the old oaken
> > bucket" and all that), while metal ones can be either.  Of course,
> > this reflects the general tendency (cf. Breal, Bolinger, et al.) that
> > true synonymy tends to be minimized and that distinct words tend to
> > carve out distinct referential niches in a given dialect or idiolect,
> > even when these vary from speaker to speaker--remember our earlier
> > discussion of the cheap "vace" vs. the costly "vahz".  (And this
> > doesn't get into the question of why my grandfather kicked the bucket
> > without kicking the pail.)
> >
> > Larry
> FWIW, the Tenth Collegiate gives both "bucket" and "pail"
> analytical definitions as well as synonymous cross-references to
> each other, which suggests that they're more or less synonymous
> but could have certain distinctive features.  For example, a pail is
> said to have a handle, whereas nothing is mentioned about this
> feature at the entry for "bucket" (suggesting that it could have a
> handle but doesn't have to).  Both are defined as usually (or
> typically) cylindrical vessels (or containers), but more is said about
> a bucket's specific functions ("catching, holding, or carrying liquids
> or solids"), which would seem to suggest that a pail isn't limited to
> those functions.
> In my family's (northeastern MA) parlance, the words are more or
> less synonymous, though not interchangeable in certain
> collocations (for example, "lunch pail" and "trash bucket").
> Joanne Despres
> Merriam-Webster, Inc.

I'm from Idaho and have been up the crick without a paddle many times.  And
I've caught a few trout in Squaw (oops still nonPC) Creek. (or crick, as the
case may be).

And the last time I heard Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of
water.  I myself would get a bucket of water, unless the only thing I had to
carry it in was a pail.  Or unless the line wouldn't scan.

Quark out
Addictive Conundrum Institude

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