[Ads-l] Usage question

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Sat May 23 17:35:00 UTC 2015


People still race sailboats, and even a 20-year-old might know "change tack."  (HIgh-schoolers regularly race for free on the Charles.)  The metaphor is common enough that I recently saw it appear in a newspaper-of-record as "change tact."  Or perhaps sailing has become unfamiliar enough that people actually think it must be "change tact", perhaps as short for "change tactic".

I do not recall ever encountering "change track" as meaning "take a new direction".  Except when actually using a rail (or underground) line.

Joel

 

     From: Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Saturday, May 23, 2015 10:24 AM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Usage question
   
I believe racing sailboats was still an important sport in the '20s, so the
metaphor would make perfect sense to readers.
On May 23, 2015 10:05 AM, "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:      Michael Everson <everson at EVERTYPE.COM>
> Subject:      Usage question
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> =46rom a book written in 1925:
>
> "However, she said nothing about it, and presently her thoughts went =
> racing off on another tack."
>
> A 20-year-old friend said to me that he saw =93tack=94 as a typo for =
> =93track=94. Now, I know the metaphor =93to change tack=94 has nautical =
> origins, and I had supposed that the sentence above was participating in =
> that metaphor.=20
>
> Has =93to change track=94 replaced (or is it in the process of =
> replacing) =93to change tack=94? Is the use of =93tack=94 vis =E0 vis =
> =93track=94 in the sentence above unusual?
>
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
>
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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