mutant verbs and other "drugs"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Oct 29 00:52:38 UTC 2012

The column on the hazards of verbification and whether it's a symptom of the decline and fall of the English language appeared in today's NYT Week in Review:

Nothing that will be terribly new to any of you here, from the Calvin & Hobbes "Verbing weirds language" on.  But I suppose it's useful for NYT readers who unaccountably don't subscribe to ads-l or read Language Log.

The "drug" in question (in the subject line) was a bit of "mainstream" dialect color I just heard on the Fox Game of the Week, courtesy of the  color announcer, Troy Aikman, who observed that even though the Cowboys home crowd was complaining about a Giants pass reception ruled in-bounds, the receiver clearly "drug his foot".  I've often noticed Aikman, who's mostly from Oklahoma and Texas (where he had a Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys) and sounds it, using "what" in relative clauses--"the offense is more inconsistent than what we thought", etc.--but I hadn't previously picked up on any morphology as down-home as "drug" for the past of "drag".


The American Dialect Society -

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