Vals Kilmer (like "attorneys general"?)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Mar 28 17:14:10 UTC 2006


Fox & Friends this a.m. promised that "coming up" would be an interview with a history professor who uses infotainment so that "his students say they learn more about history" than from any other professor (in the world, obviously).

  Teasingly, they didn't mention his name. But they did say he'd reveal on camera "the origin of one of our obscene gestures. Hint: it involves *the French* !"

  Real life called me away before I could watch the segment, but my inbuilt bullcvrap detector tells me that the distinguished historian was about to endorse, to all of us out here in TV Land,  the "Agincourt Pluck Yew !" theory of digital insult.

  Fox & Friends is the popular morning show whose previous historian guests have endorsed the (slightly less nonsensical) "Van Buren theory of O.K. origin."

  My own belief, arrived at just this second, is that the cocky and defiant "Pluck yew !" incident is also the origin of our word "plucky."  Anybody doubt it ?  If so, shut up.

  JL

Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: Re: Vals Kilmer (like "attorneys general"?)
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"Skeptical"? How can this be? Wikipedia, that vaunted repository of all
human knowledge ;-), believes it. However, I read it somewhere else maybe
fifty years ago and the story wasn't new, then. And, as we know, stories
that are around long enough tend to become regarded as "true."

In other words, I'm not quite skeptical, but I don't think that this story
is necessarily true, either.

-Wilson

On 3/27/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Jonathan Lighter
> Subject: Re: Vals Kilmer (like "attorneys general"?)
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
------
>
> I'm skeptical.
>
> JL
>
> Wilson Gray wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Wilson Gray
> Subject: Re: Vals Kilmer (like "attorneys general"?)
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
------
>
> Know why a major general is outranked by a lieutenant general, though a
> major outranks a lieutenant? Supposedly, the reason is that a major
> general
> was originally a sergeant-major general and lieutenants outrank sergeants=
.
>
> -Wilson
>
> On 3/27/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender: American Dialect Society
> > Poster: Jonathan Lighter
> > Subject: Re: Vals Kilmer (like "attorneys general"?)
> >
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
=3D
> ------
> >
> > "To my knowledge, no one ever calls the Surgeon General 'General.'
> > 'Doctor' is used instead."
> >
> > Read all about it: http://www.cardozo.yu.edu/life/spring2003/generals/ =
=3D
> .
> >
> > JL
> >
> > Beverly Flanigan wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender: American Dialect Society
> > Poster: Beverly Flanigan
> > Subject: Re: Vals Kilmer (like "attorneys general"?)
> >
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
=3D
> ------
> >
> > The Surgeon General is always addressed as General.
> >
> > At 01:34 PM 3/27/2006, you wrote:
> > >I think the question was about how attorneys general are addressed.
> When
> > >Alberto Gonzales appears before congress, is he addressed as General
> > >Gonzales? I think this happens at least sometimes.
> > >
> > >-Matt Gordon
> > >
> > >
> > >On 3/27/06 11:43 AM, "Dennis R. Preston"
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > > I guess I don't understand. If he is the attorney for general
> > > > matters, then he is a "general attorney," just like a court martial
> > > > is court (N) plus martial (adj) a "military court."
> > > >
> > > > dInIs
> > > >
> > >
> > > >> ~~~~~~~~~~~
> > > >> I've no beef with adjectives following nouns, a la francais. This
> > still
> > > >> doesn't explain why we address this (general interest) attorney as
> > > >> "General" if it isn't meant as a rank.....?
> > > >> AM
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > >
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^=
=3D
> ^^
> > > >> W stands for >:< War ____Waste___Wiretaps____Witchhunts >:<
> > > >>
> > >
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^=
=3D
> ^^
> > > >>
> > > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > Dennis R. Preston
> > > > University Distinguished Professor
> > > > Department of English
> > > > Morrill Hall 15-C
> > > > Michigan State University
> > > > East Lansing, MI 48824-1036 USA
> > > > Office: (517) 353-4736
> > > > Fax: (517) 353-3755
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> > >------------------------------------------------------------
> > >The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------
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