Re: [ADS-L] 'help t he genocide'

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sat Aug 16 22:38:19 UTC 2008

Well, one can say, "The pills helped my cold" and even "The radiation helped 
my cancer"; "calls to help cancer" therefore are not too different in syntax 
(see <>: "Cholesterol 
drug Vytorin does 'zilch' to help heart disease"). That is, yes, one of the 
synonyms for "help" is "assist, support" but another is "prevent, alleviate";" 
it is the "alleviate" sense that is intended in "Donate money to help 
Of course, one has to be a Griceanly cooperative reader to understand what 
the speaker intended!

In a message dated 8/16/08 3:32:35 PM, cdoyle at UGA.EDU writes:

> I'm reminded of an interview with Magic Johnson when he was first diagnosed 
> as HIV positive. Magic declared his intent to become a "spokesman for the 
> virus."
> --Charlie
> _____________________________________________________________
> ---- Original message ----
> >Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 20:23:50 -0400
> >From: Lynne Murphy <m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK>
> >Subject: 'help the genocide'
> >
> >Was just sending this to a copy-editing blog I 
> read(, but thought it might be of interest here too.
> >
> >Was driving through Palmyra, New York yesterday, and spotted a handwritten 
> sign affixed to a telephone pole near a traffic light.  It said:
> >
> >"Children are being hurt and killed in Darfur.  Donate money to help the 
> genocide."  (I think it gave a phone number at the end.)
> >
> >Now, the handwriting was rather childish, so I thought it was just a child 
> not knowing what 'genocide' means.  But now I've googled "help the genocide" 
> and found examples from people who ought to know better:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >  (in a
> >comment)
> >
> >(The second link could be where the Palmyran got the idea from.)
> >
> >When human rights supporters have web pages on 'ways to help the genocide', 
> it can't be a good thing!  Do we think there's any change in meaning here, 
> or just bad writing skills?  I'm leaning toward the latter, since the first 
> line on the first article linked above is "If you want to lend a hand with the 
> conflict in Darfur, these organizations may be a place to start."  I 
> half-expected some of the organizations listed to be arms dealers.
> >
> >I can see how 'help/lend a hand' could come to be interpreted as 'help to 
> stop' or 'help the victims of', but one doesn't see similar calls to 'help 
> cancer' or 'help AIDS' or even 'help Hurricane Rita'.  Then again, one does see 
> "Cancer Support"...
> >
> >I'm too literal-minded, I guess.    Ooh, should have sent this to the 
> Literal-Minded blog.
> >
> >Lynne
> >
> >Dr M Lynne Murphy
> >Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
> >Arts B135
> >University of Sussex
> >Brighton BN1 9QN
> >
> >phone: +44-(0)1273-678844
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Looking for a car that's sporty, fun and fits in your budget? 
Read reviews on AOL Autos.
( )

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list