"report" 'someone reporting to a manager'

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri May 29 18:13:51 UTC 2009

On May 28, 2009, at 5:23 PM, John Baker wrote:

>        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.

what sort of use in the popular press?  let me explain.

this noun "report" seems pretty much confined to manager/managee and
supervisor/supervisee relationships, and picks out a very specific
piece of this scene, based on who reports to whom (this verb "report"
is surely the source of the noun -- the noun is a nouning -- and so is
older, maybe considerably older, than the noun).

call the two participants the ER and the EE; the EE reports to the
ER.  we can then use the noun "report" to refer to an EE (or to EEs)
in NP expressions like
   ER's report(s)
   a report (of ER's), reports (of ER's)
("NN is my report", "I have two reports").

these usages began in business environments, where they are certainly
useful; in particular, it's useful to be able to refer to the EE
participant with a single word ("managee", "supervisee", "report").
so here's the question: when you say the word began to be widely used
in the popular press, do you mean that the popular press simply picked
up the word, used for a participant in a business relationship,
instead of referring to an EE with a phrase?  or do you mean that the
use of the word has been extended to other relationships?


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