"report" 'someone reporting to a manager'

Fri May 29 00:23:28 UTC 2009

        Thank you, it appears that I've been misusing "recency illusion"
to mean its opposite.  I think I did it in a comment on your blog, too.

        I'm sure that "report" in this sense is older than the
mid-1980s, perhaps quite a bit older, but in any case going back at
least to the 1970s.  It's just that it wasn't until the
mid-to-late-1980s that there began to be widespread use in the popular
press, which probably reflects widespread use in business environments.
I don't know if this has any effect on your conclusion.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Arnold Zwicky
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 7:50 PM
Subject: Re: "report" 'someone reporting to a manager'

On May 28, 2009, at 3:23 PM, John Baker wrote:

>        I too would have guessed that this usage isn't recent, but it
> looks like I would have been wrong.  It's been prevalent only since
> the late 1980s, which is recent enough that the recency illusion seems

> to be at work.

that would be the Antiquity Illusion, not the Recency Illusion:


   You're probably guessing that I'm going to add a kind of inverse
counterpart to the Recency Illusion, call it the Antiquity Illusion:
if you use some linguistic feature naturally and regularly, you believe
that it has been in the language for a long time -- at least since your
early years.  And so I am.
   AZ, 2/21/06: The Antiquity Illusion:


though reasonably widespread usage of the item in question is short of a
generation old, by your reckoning, i'd still count it as recent.
certainly, considerably more recent than most things people have labeled
as "recent".

in any case, thanks for the cites.

> ...       So "direct report," to mean an employee who reports
> directly to
> the person in question, began to be used in the mid-1980s and became
> the dominant use in 1989, and by the mid-1990s it was so widely used
> that it swamped all other meanings.


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