Fwd: "resurfaced"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Oct 9 14:40:34 UTC 2008

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Ann Burlingham"
> Date: October 8, 2008 10:49:02 AM PDT
> To: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu>
> Subject: "resurfaced"
> http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/10/abcs_jake_tapper_tries_to_pin.html
> "NASHVILLE--Since the McCain campaign has resurfaced the matter of
> Barack Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers--the former terrorist now
> Chicago education professor---there are some matters I am curious
> about."

awkward causativization, to my ear.  the matter of Obama's
relationship to Ayers has resurfaced.  the McCain campaign caused
this.  so: X resurfaces Y 'X causes Y to resurface'.

i haven't given any serious thought to the matter (and i'm sure
there's literature on it), but it seems to me that "resurface" is
semantically inappropriate for causativization.  "reappear" and
"arise" are similarly bad, but "resurface" has the additional problem
of interference from transitive "resurface" 'put a new surface on'.


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list