"Drowned Alive"

Michael McKernan mckernan at LOCALNET.COM
Tue Aug 23 15:47:18 UTC 2005

 Laurence Horn quoted me:

>>It's also interesting to note that a dead person cannot (technically)
>>drown:  you have to be alive, in order to breathe in the water or other
>>fluid which causes drowning. Bodies immersed in fluid post mortem do not
>>'drown.'  So one can't possible be 'drowned dead.'

And then wrote:
>Au contraire.  One can be drowned dead (technically), just as one can
>be shot dead or one can eat one's knuckles raw.  The key is the
>difference between the depictive reading and the resultative reading.
>If I eat my knuckles when they're raw (or when I'm raw), that's
>depictive; if I eat them until they become raw, that's resultative.

Certainly.  I thought I made it clear that I was referring only to the
resultative case.  While a live person can be 'shot dead' (resultative,
=shot to death) and a dead person can be 'shot dead' (depictive =shot when
already dead), it takes a live person to be 'drowned dead' (resultative
=drowned to death); a dead person cannot be 'drowned dead' (depictive
=drowned when already dead [nor resultative, due to tautology]), because a
dead body simply won't drown.

Perhaps I'm drowning a dead horse, and thus destroying my argument with a
mixed metaphor.

Michael McKernan

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