hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 4 04:16:58 UTC 2011
On Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
> OED3 (March 2010) has "re-up" with "up" treated as a verb "with reference to the holding up of one's right hand on taking the oath of enlistment into the United States armed forces", so that inflection should be on the final element (as it is in all the OED examples).
"up" treated as a verb "with reference to the holding up of one's
right hand on taking the oath of enlistment into the United States
I find that analysis extremely unpersuasive. Indeed, my reaction is,
"Surely, you jest!" I'm not even sure that re-enlistment requires a
re-swearing. I can't imagine that it would. What would invalidate the
original oath? A dishonorable discharge? No one with a DD can re-up,
in any case. Besides, the swearing-in is a non-event, taking the
military experience as a whole. The thing that most impressed me is
that, immediately upon our taking of the oath, the attitude of the
military personnel changed, like switching off a light. The officers
and NCO's, who had theretofore been as pleasant as used-car salesmen,
became distant and extremely unfriendly, much too weak a description,
as they *angrily* - they were totally unpleasant about it, to say the
very least - explained to us that, as a consequence of that oath, our
asses were grass and they were the lawnmower, because we were now
subject to military discipline and would remainso till our terms of
enlistment were up or we were killed in combat, whichever came first.
Meanwhile, the EM present, who had been maintaining a neutral, if not
a serious, mien, burst into laughter and began to shout, "You'll be
saaahhhreee!" There was really nothing about the swearing-in ceremony
to cause anyone to get all misty-eyed about it.
IMO, the _up_ is one of those ups as in fuck up, shut up, finish up,
screw up, tangle up, eat up, drink up, think up, close up, etc. I.e.,
the motivation behind _re-ing up_.
OTOH, it was fifty years ago that I was "nervous in the service." And
> but that wouldn't preclude analyzing the thing as a mystery head "re-" plus the particle "up", in which case inflection would go on the first element.
mystery head "re-"
_Re-_ from "re-enlist"?
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.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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