Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Feb 14 18:22:02 UTC 2005

At 12:50 PM -0500 2/14/05, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>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?

Yes, it does give a whole new meaning to the concept of a hot date...

>>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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