the noun "forensic"
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 14 01:31:23 UTC 2005
>my friend christopher walker writes to ask:
>Have you run into this usage before?
>Here at Penn State, "forensic" can be a substantive. It means a
>gathering with a formal program,
>such as a speech or a film. There will be a forensic after the
>business meeting.' There isn't necessarily any element of analysis
>or even discussion implied.
>Is this a Keystone State feature? or a Penn State bug?
>i don't recall having seen this before, and i don't find it in the
>ADS archives. but OED2 has what is presumably the historical source,
>from the 19th century:
>n. U.S. A college exercise, consisting of a speech or (at Harvard)
>written thesis maintaining one side or the other of a given question.
>1830 Collegian 241 in B. H. Hall College Words, Themes, forensics
>[etc.]. 1837 Ord. & Regul. Harvard Univ. 12 Every omission of a theme
>a 1993 OED addition has an elliptical use 'forensic science
>department, laboratory, etc.', which isn't directly related to the
>noun use above. instead, it's parallel to another usage that walker
>It reminds me of running into "epistolary" as a noun, occasionally,
>among lit crit types. 'Clarissa is the longest epistolary in the
>English language.' (I always wanted to shriek "Novel! epistolary
>*novel* !" )
>arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)
...the world-famous linguistic
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