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 <http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/357088_drug31.html>: "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
> ---- 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(engineroom.blogspot.com), 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:
> >http://pinkmohair.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/05/help_end_genoci.html (in a
> >(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.
> >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 - http://www.americandialect.org
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