[Ads-l] Slang a la the NYT

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 11 20:20:19 UTC 2014


On Nov 11, 2014, at 2:55 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Prescriptivists now prefer "Mexican-American War."
> 
> Because the old version *could be interpreted,* by those inclined to do so,
> to mean that Mexico started it. Or could suggest that to innocent minds.
> 
> Cf. the diehard insistence on "The War Between the States."
> 
> Which isn't accurate anyway because separate states weren't at war in a
> free-for-all:

well, more accurate than "The War Among the States", which really would have been a free-for-all.

>  two nations were at war, one internationally recognized and
> established, the other unrecognized but de facto.
> 
> The diehards reject "Civil War" because, see, a "civil war" takes place
> *within* a nation.

And because it wasn't all that civil.

But don't the *real* diehards call it "The War of Northern Aggression"?

LH
> 
> There's may be no limit to semantic paranoia.
> 
> JL
> 
> 
> On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: Slang a la the NYT
>> 
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> At least your nitpick is substantive.
>> 
>> On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 9:33 AM, Amy West <medievalist at w-sts.com> wrote:
>> ...
>> 
>>> Kory is a bright light from what I have seen and heard of her work at
>>> M-W (for whom I still freelance).
>>> 
>>> I would not dismiss her or her work based on this common use.
>>> 
>>> Dave Wilton is spot on re: the editorial review: It was my senior editor
>>> at M-W who reviewed my letters to correspondents, pointed out my uses of
>>> things like "lay" for "lie" and "hopefully" that would set off
>>> prescriptivists, and recommended that I should avoid them lest they have
>>> the reaction that y'all are demonstrating here.
>>> 
>>> Yep, the lay/lie distinction is fading in the dialect. Deal with it.
>>> 
>>> (And I just yesterday gave a local organization grief for a "during the
>>> Mexican War in 1945" typo on a poster. [Twice on the same poster, 1945
>>> for 1845.] So I can be just as nitpicky as another.)
>>> 
>>> ---Amy West
>>> 
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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