Fwd: Re: beknown

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 5 19:43:23 UTC 2009

Oops.  Please ignore (or postedit) my "contribution" below, which I
now see was pre-empted by the first part of Arnold's own message.


>Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 15:38:39 -0400
>To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
>Subject: Re: beknown
>At 8:07 AM -0700 8/5/09, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>On Aug 5, 2009, at 6:44 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:
>>>Yeah, but "beknown" is called "archaic," and the 1876 "beholden" is
>>>from a
>>>book called _Modern English_.
>>>My mother and grandmother used to say "beholden" all the time...
>>>On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 9:03 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>>>>At 8/5/2009 08:45 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>>>The final OED ex. is from 1865.
>>>>>But how did they miss this?:
>>>>>: i believe john ireland made his name beknown in this film.
>>>>They must have been sleeping though Katharine Hepburn movies.  After
>>>>all, she said "beholden" in "Philadelphia Story" in 1938 and again in
>>>>1940, and the final OED ex. for that is from 1873.
>>i'm baffled by this exchange.  why is "beholden" (dialectal/informal,
>>but still current) being discussed in a thread about "beknown"?
>>"beknown" is at best rare these days, and it's not even clear that
>>when it occurs it's a survival of the older verb form, rather than an
>>innovation on the basis of "unbeknownst", "renowned", analytic "be
>>known", etc.
>>but here's a further example i found:
>>   Please understand we have been selling these brands for a decade
>>and have few, if any unhappy customers who have made themselves
>>beknown to us (with a total sample size of thousands!) or returns...
>>so please don't be unduly alarmed!
>One structural difference between the two is that "beknown" in many
>contexts, including the one just above, could be a reparsing of "be
>known"--"who made themselves be known to us" is perfectly natural
>for me, and I can imagine someone associating this with
>"unbeknownst" and spelling it as one word.  This is impossible (or
>at least unlikely) with "beholden".

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