Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 6 01:39:38 UTC 2009

Well, it's probably beknownst to all that I've long been holden to
Larry for much valuable commentary on my posts.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 3:38 PM, Laurence Horn<laurence.horn at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       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> 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".
> LH
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