Heard on The Judges: "nigger" = person, man

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Dec 3 22:03:24 UTC 2008

On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 4:53 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> Sometimes, the censors are asleep at the switch, especially on basic
> cable or on the earlier equivalent thereof. Back in the day, I was
> watching some off-brand channel on which a talking head was
> interviewing the female cast-members of OH, CALCUTTA! It went
> something like this:
> TH: Do you feel that what you girls are doing, appearing fully in the
> nude on stage, might be somewhat sexually provocative?
> CM: Why, of course. Indeed, I suppose that, if I were a man, I'd _get
> a hard on_, too.
> Some readers may prefer "hard-on," But, I'm fully persuaded by a
> brilliant, oral argument (and the guy's not even a native-speaker)
> presented before a baby-syntax class at M.I.T. by Henk van Riemsdijk,
> ca.1973, and the existence of _get on hard_, the only form available
> in BE, that the hyphen is superfluous.

So, something akin to the reanalysis of "send a shout out" as "send a
shout-out", which we discussed last year?


--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list