ADS-L Digest - 12 May 2008 to 13 May 2008 (#2008-135)

Wed May 14 16:35:14 UTC 2008

<< Forty-ish, black, female plaintiff:
"She was supposed to _give  me pay_ $3600.00, altogether."
This is reminiscent of "tell me say." It even  rhymes with it. However,
this could very well be merely a  hesitation-insertion, so to speak,
made to emphasize the fact that the money  was *owed* to the speaker
and not some kind of very generous gift from the  defendant.  >>

The latter seems to me the most likely explanation.  My guess is that  it's
not a cultural thing, either.  My father - who has never been black,  has never
been female, and hasn't been 40-ish for 40 years - insists that the  word
"give" can only be used if you mean giving with nothing in return - i.e., a
gift, or at least something similar.  I could say to one of my siblings,  "Give me
the phone," because even tho it wasn't really a gift, I wasn't going to  pay
them for hanging up the phone so I could (finally!) use it myself.  But  I
wasn't supposed to say, "He gave me the jacket, and I gave him $10,"  because
neither of us actually "gave" the other person anything for free.   Similarly, I
wasn't supposed to say, "My boss gave me my pay."  It was  supposedly supposed
to be, "My boss handed me my pay" or something  similar.

Since my peers didn't have these compunctions about the word "give," I
tended not to "give" my father's compunctions much heed.


If dandelions were hard to grow, they  would be most welcome on any lawn.
~ Andrew Mason

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