Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Fri Aug 5 00:37:37 UTC 2005

Not to mention what seems to be the near-universal pronunciation of
-plegic as "puh-lee-jik." I can relate to "a-thuh-leet." After all, the
cluster -thl- is bizarre, even when split by a syllable boundary. But,
any newsreader who can pronounce "play" ought not to have any trouble

-Wilson Gray

On Aug 4, 2005, at 6:39 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Fwd:
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> lexical inflation strikes again...  or maybe just confusion.
> a report from a friend:
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Victor Steinbok <victor.steinbok at verizon.net>
>> Date: August 1, 2005 3:04:11 PM PDT
>> To: zwicky at csli.stanford.edu
>> I have developed a new linguistic pet peeve. It started a while ago
>> and was
>> based on various appearances in printed and TV news reports (I
>> don't listen to
>> radio enough to notice). Over the weekend, it happened again, so I was
>> reminded to check what you thought on the subject.
>> I've noticed that over the past several years, "quadriplegic" became
>> synonymous to "paralized" rather than the narrower meaning of
>> "paralized in
>> four limbs" (or something to that effect--i.e., usually affected by
>> spinal
>> damage in the cervical rather than the thoracic area). MS patients
>> have become  quadriplegic. Anyone in the wheelchair is now
>> quadriplegic, etc. What really  got me annoyed yesterday was the
>> final comment in the TV report which mentioned "quadriplegics and
>> paraplegics" even though the entire episode confounded the two
>> terms and used "quadriplegic" to describe someone who was clearly--
>> visibly--paraplegic.
>> The particular report concerned electrode implants to allow
>> paralyzed patients
>> to cough. So the final comment was actually accurate, but it was
>> the stopped-
>> clock kind of accuracy (the one that tells the correct time twice a
>> day). I
>> was wondering if this bears closer investigation. I suppose, it
>> might be
>> difficult to track this down by simple searches, since each case
>> might need to
>> be evaluated as to whether the word quadriplegic actually refers to a
>> quadriplegic or a paraplegic patient. But, at least, I thought I'd
>> direct your
>> attention to this so that the next time you hear it or see in print
>> you might
>> notice the context.

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