assorted comments

James A. Landau <> JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Thu Dec 31 15:00:15 UTC 2009

Margaret Lee <mlee303 at YAHOO.COM> asked for a translation from HTML into (presumbaly) White English.
Here goes:

Subject: Re: Job Opening in Linguistics / Applied Linguistics

Assistant Professor, Linguistics/Applied Linguistics

The Department of English andLinguistics of Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW) invites applications for a tenure-track appointment in linguistics at the rank ofAssistant Professor to begin August, 2010.

Teaching English as a New Language program with state endorsements, and is developing a separate undergraduate major in Linguistics

Ph.D in hand by August, 2010. Minimum one-year teaching experience is required.
Applications should includethe following:

Cover letter indicating research focus and teaching experience
Curriculum Vitae
Unofficial Transcripts
Names and contact information for three currentreferences

ApplicationDeadline: November 16, 2009. First-round interviews to coincide
with the Linguistic Society of America conference, 2010, in Baltimore.

 260 481 6751
Please visit our website learn more about our department.

Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne is located on a growing campus of approximately 13,000 students in a metropolitan area of approximately  300,000 people. IPFW is an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access, Affirmative Action University fully committed to a diverse workforce.

Beth Lee Simon, Ph.D.
Professor, Linguistics and English
Indiana University Purdue University
Fort Wayne, In 46805, U.S.
voice (011) 260 481 6761=20
email simon at

I note the interesting expression "Ph.D in hand".  Is this standard academic jargon?

I wonder what the team name for IPFW athletic teams is.  Hoosiermaker?

I've heard of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, but "Equal Access" is a new one on me.


>"Dead Guy in Sportscar," alt.folklore.urban, Dec. 24, 1998
>I've never encountered this one in the wild, but it's featured in four of the three Brunvand books (_The Vanishing Hitchhiker_, _The Choking Doberman_, _The Mexican Pet_, and _The Baby Train_).
>--Ben Zimmer

FOUR of the THREE?

On  Wed, 30 Dec 2009 14:26:10 Zulu minus 0500  Sean_Fitzpatrick? grendel.jjf at VERIZON.NET> wrote and quoted:

<<Clear proof that modern usage is not limited to the literary effete.>>

Au contraire, mon ami!  I can't think of anyone more effete in the literary
way than that drill sergeant.
effete �adjective
3.      unable to produce; sterile.

Sean Fitzpatrick
Mais o� sont les neige d'antan?
Sous les neige d'aujourd'hui.

-----Original Message-----
From: Joel S. Berson [mailto:Berson at ATT.NET]
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 10:17 AM
Subject: Re: Heard on NFL Blackhawks vs. Redwings

At 12/29/2009 12:19 AM, Se�n Fitzpatrick wrote:
>FWIW, in 1966 at Ft. Bragg, our bayonet instructor informed us that there
>are only two kinds of bayonet fighters:  the quick and the dead.

Clear proof that modern usage is not limited to the literary effete.


On Wed, 30 Dec 2009 19:42:49 Zulu plus 0000  Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET> asked:

My partner, who lives outside Fairbanks, Alaska, pointed out a to her jarring turn of phrase in a headline in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: "Domestic dispute leads to gun play on post" (this has now been changed to "Fort Wainwright soldier fires gun through wall after dispute with wife" --

In her words: "I wonder why the newspaper calls it gun "play" when someone shot up his apartment after smacking around his wife. Where'd this use of "play" originate?"

The online Merriam-Webster has 1881 as a date, no cites, for "gunplay: the shooting of small arms with intent to scare or kill", and I don't have access to the OED right this moment. There are a small number of examples in the press, usually for scary frivolous discharging of firearms.

Is this in general use? And why "play" -- is there a specific military link, maybe?


For the origin of "gunplay" or "gun play", consider the older term "swordplay".

The 1881 M-W date is plausible if someone that year were citing the cowboy custom of "hurrahing" a town by firing their revolvers in the air.  In a morbid sense, that was "playful".

You apparently did not think of another sense of "play", which as a verb means "to spray around an area, to point in various directions so as to cover an area".  Examples "the fireman played the [stream of water from the] firehose over the fire" or "the machine-gunner played a stream of bullets over the approach to his position".  If someone "shot up his apartment" then he must have "played" the bullets around the apartment so as to cause damage in various parts of the aparment" rather than "directed all his bullets at a specific target".\\


On  Wed, 30 Dec 2009 19:15:56 -0500 Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:

As do the dates of the original composition [of the Gospels].  I was a little taken aback by the range AD 65 and 80 given above -- essentially, this is the earliest possible dating of the earliest written Gospel, Mark, which has to have been composed after 65 CE at the absolute earliest, and virtually certainly some greater or lesser time after 70 CE.  A more plausible terminus ad quem for
the latest of the four canonical gospels might be 170 CE, perhaps even later, for John.

OT: The Logos (John chapter 1) is, among other things, the earliest known citation of the Jewish mysticism known as "Kaballah".  This is true even if the date of 170 CE is used.  The second-earliest citation is in the Mishnah, written circa 182 CE.  It is odd but the oldest known writing on Kaballah is by a Christian, in the Gospels.

Date:    Wed, 30 Dec 2009 20:18:34 -0500
From:    Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: "gun play"?

For me, the problems are why "gun play" and not "gunplay" and why
"gunplay" at all, when only one person had and used a gun? In the
horse operas, Western comic books, etc., of my childhood, gunplay
always involved a minimum of two *men*, *each* armed. I.e., gunplay =
gunfight. Of course, the meaning of "gunplay" may well have shifted
over the past half-century, without my being aware of it. Or _gun
play_ may even be the nonce creation by a young writer to whom the
existence of the old word, "gunplay," and its normal connotation are
unknown. Were I the writer. I would have used the far more accurate,
under the circumstances, "gunfire."

During my own blessedly-peaceful military career, I never came across
the the word "play" associated in any way with the word, "gun."


Date:    Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:33:41 -0600
From:    Dave Hause <dwhause at JOBE.NET>
Subject: Re: "gun play"?

Alas!  What a change in drill instructors there must have been by 1965!  You
never heard, "This is my rifle, this is my gun..."?
Dave Hause, dwhause at
Waynesville, MO
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>

During my own blessedly-peaceful military career, I never came across
the the word "play" associated in any way with the word, "gun."


Two philological items here:

1) One of the US Army's in-group customs (I won't call it a "shibboleth") is that the word "gun" is never used to refer to one's rifle.  The rifle is always called one's "weapon".  Any soldier who calls it a "gun" is likely to be the butt of some joke involving the use of "gun" as a synonym for "penis".

Also that thing soldiers wear around their waist to carry ammmo, canteen, etc. is a "pistol belt".  A "gun belt" is what a machine gunner feeds into his machine gun.

What is the proper Army usage of "gun"?  To mean an artillery piece.

But what about a "machine gun"?  Here we have a piece of archaica.  When machine guns first appeared (US Civil War, Franco-Prussian War) there were considered artillery (see Shaw's "Arms and the Man") and although machine guns (and submachine guns) have long since been transferred to the infantry, linguistic inertia has kept "gun" restricted to artillery.

2) That proverb-quoting sergeant was NOT a "Drill Instructor" or "Drill Sergeant".  Instead he was a member of the military training group known, at Fort Knox at least, as "Committee Group"

     - Jim Landau

End of ADS-L Digest - 29 Dec 2009 to 30 Dec 2009 (#2009-365)

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