Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Mon Feb 14 17:50:07 UTC 2005


Why must you place images like "getting Kim off last night with
Sichuan cuisine" in our heads? How am I supposed to get any work done?


>On Feb 14, 2005, at 6:24 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>An earlier example that springs to mind is to "get off," which in
>>mainstream usage changed from "experience orgasm" to "enjoy oneself
>>(often perversely)."  This happened around 1970.
>melioration for the intransitive verb "get off (on)" ("I really get off
>  on Sichuan cuisine"), but the transitive verb "get off" ("I got Kim
>off last night") is still resolutely sexual: "I got Kim off last night
>with Sichuan cuisine" can't mean 'I caused Kim enjoyment last night
>with Sichuan cuisine'.
>as is so often the case, historically related senses of words don't
>always undergo semantic shift in parallel.

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages
A-740 Wells Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 432-3099
Fax: (517) 432-2736
preston at

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