English lexicon too large and unwieldy?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 14 18:41:32 UTC 2011

To the extent that even native-sE-speakers are unable to control it?

One twenty-ish, sE-speaking, white woman to another:

"I didn't do it to *hurt* you! I did it out of *spite*!"

When you do something out of spite, aren't you doing it to hurt
another, pretty much by definition?

In context, the speaker probably was reaching for "out of
*desperation*" or some such, IMO.

(OT: For those who recall an ancient discussion and who care, the 1998
neo-blaxploitation movie, "I Got The Hook-Up," may be on Comedy
Central today - or not, depending on where you live. For those who
missed it, the issue was when, in BE, _hook-up_ ceased to be used
primarily WRT telephony, etc. and began to refer primarily to sexual
liaisons. In the movie, _hook-up_ clearly refers to telephony and to
nothing else.)

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

Once that we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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