Who's diddling and how?

Marc Velasco marcjvelasco at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 16 20:47:13 UTC 2008

 >>Try this X-rated thought experiment on your wise-ass students (18
>>and over only, please!).
>A. "Omigod! They're Xing!"
>B. "Omigod! He's Xing her!"
>C. "Omigod! She's Xing him!"

Now, while you *could* make it a thought experiment, you could also make it
a bona fide lab experiment.  Take a grad student, and appropriate
video-clips  (depicting the various conditions), and have (presumed
undergraduate) subjects describe the scene free form.  Or ask them to
describe the scene fwhile using the 'f-word'.  At the very least the grad
student might be amused reading the various responses.

>My belief based on HDAS exx., etc.: Such verbs most typically take
>masculine subjects (for what I believe are obvious physiological
>reasons), but in appropriate contexts feminine subjects are also idomatic.

       While A and B seem in the abstract to be far more likely, I would
> think that C would become the exclamation of choice if the woman were
> well-known to the speaker and the man were not.

Then these hypotheses would be testable.


Barbara , have a look at the "Phuc Dong" paper on subjectless expressions.


Btw: LH I was trying to reference the two examples you brought up, but only
to highlight the third 'generic' usage I was mentioning.  By all means, I
got the penetrator/tee and aggressor business from your prev post.

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

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