"swap": inversion of meaning
jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jan 18 14:11:25 UTC 2005
Hardly young at 59, the use of "swap" to mean trade,
exchange, or substitute seems totally natural to me.
What is the so-called "established" meaning of swap?
--- Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> "Blending" could account for the occasional slip of
> the tongue or pen, but Arnold is probably closer to
> explaining how such "slips" (if indeed that's how
> they originate) become "part of the language." In
> simple terms, more young (I guess) people -
> including young people who wind up as print
> journalists - have failed to comprehend a big part
> of the established meaning of "swap" and
> "substitute" (and perhaps "trade" and "switch").
> There's enough evidence to suggest that the shift is
> beginning to embrace this entire category of words.
> "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
> Subject: Re: "swap": inversion of meaning
> On Jan 17, 2005, at 8:24 AM, Gerald Cohen wrote:
> > This looks like a blend: "subsitute whole grains
> for refined ones" +
> > "swap/switch refined grains for whole ones."
> > In my article "Contributions To The Study of
> Blending" (_Etymology
> > And Linguistic Principles_, vol. 1---by Gerald
> Leonard Cohen, 1988;
> > self-published but very favorably
> reviewed---pp.81-94), I comment on
> > semantic change as a result of blending (p.89):
> > "As a result of blending, words are often thrust
> into a new
> > environment which changes the meaning of those
> words." (Then: two
> > examples; Jonathan Lighter's example below seems
> to be a third one,
> > albeit not from the standard language.).
> > Original message from Jonathan Lighter, January
> 17, 2005:
> >> This is much like the odd shift in the meaning of
> >> commented upon some weeks ago:
> >> "New dietary guidelines coming out Wednesday are
> expected to place
> >> more emphasis on counting calories and exercising
> daily, along with
> >> swapping whole grains for refined ones and eating
> a lot more
> >> vegetables and fruits." -- Gov't: Calories, Not
> Carbs, Make You Fat
> >> (AP)
> >> January 12, 2005
> >> This says to me (nonsensically) that if you're
> eating whole grains
> >> now, you should switch to refined ones.
> >> Thoughts?
> to recap the old "substitute" discussion: there are
> three usages:
> (1) original: substitute NEW for OLD
> (2) encroached: substitute OLD with/by NEW
> [an extension of the "replace" pattern]
> (3) reversed: substitute OLD for NEW
> [denison suggests that this is a blend of (1) and
> (2). note
> that both (2) and (3) have the virtue of putting OLD
> before NEW,
> iconically to the preferred sequence of old and new
> now, the obvious analysis of lighter's "swap"
> example -- "swap NEW for
> OLD", instead of "swap OLD for NEW" -- is that it's
> an extension of
> the pattern in (1) to new verbs with semantics
> similar to "substitute"
> ("swap", and possibly, as cohen suggests, "switch"
> as well; i'd add
> "trade"). this extension would be facilitated by the
> fact that "swap",
> "switch", and "trade" are verbs of *mutual*
> substitution, for which (in
> central uses) NEW replaces OLD and OLD replaces NEW:
> in "I
> swapped/switched/traded my marbles for her baseball
> cards", the marbles
> replace the baseball cards and vice versa. which
> participant is
> expressed by the direct and which by the oblique
> object could be
> entirely determined by matters of focus and
> topicality in the
> so lighter's example could result from an extension
> of a construction
> to new head verbs semantically similar to existing
> ones, a phenomenon
> that is very widely attested.
> cohen's syntactic blend analysis strikes me as
> pretty implausible. in
> clear examples of syntactic blends, it's plausible
> to maintain that the
> speaker (or writer) was entertaining two competing
> plans for expressing
> the same meaning (or very similar ones) and ended up
> with elements of
> each, usually in pretty simple ways (by splicing or
> substitution, to
> use the terminology from davld fay's 1981 paper,
> "Substitutions and
> splices: A study of sentence blends"). cohen's
> proposal is that "swap
> NEW for OLD" results from blending
> (1) substitute NEW for OLD
> (2) swap/switch OLD for NEW,
> which involves, at the surface, switches in three
> places, holding only
> the preposition "for" constant. it is, of course,
> possible that
> blending takes place at a more abstract level of
> analysis, in which the
> allocation of OLD and NEW to syntactic arguments is
> separated from the
> choice of "for" as the oblique marker.
> extensions of constructions to new head items
> semantically related to
> existing heads *could* always be analyzed as
> syntactic blends, with a
> certain amount of ingenuity (as above). but this
> seems to me like the
> wrong way to go, especially since people who produce
> these extensions
> so rarely treat them as inadvertent errors; in
> general, the extensions
> look like innovations in grammars, made
> independently by some number of
> speakers and then spread to other speakers by the
> usual means.
> arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu
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