[Ads-l] "shut up talking"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Oct 21 14:55:24 UTC 2015


> On Oct 21, 2015, at 9:08 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> OED  shows no exx. of "Shut up!" taking a direct object.

Well, arguably "Shut him up!" is an example of "shut up" taking a direct object, as in

12. trans. To cause (a person) to stop talking, to reduce to silence.

1814   J. Austen Mansfield Park III. xvi. 305   Her son, who was always guided by the last speaker, by the person who could get hold of and shut him up.
1856   Dickens Little Dorrit (1857) i. xiii. 115,   I say to them, What else are you made for? It shuts them up. They haven't a word to answer.

The fact that the object of the transitive verb-particle construction appears between the two parts isn't really decisive, and indeed  one example (and many more could have included) have the opposite order:

1866   Mysteries of Isis 7   The Captain shuts up poor Henry..and he can't say a word in return.

I'm not familiar with "Shut up talking!" either but I don't think the issue is the transitive use of "shut up".  In fact, I'm not sure I'd consider this a case of "shut up" taking a direct object; more like intransitive "shut up" plus some sort of appositive.

LH

> 
> I would have said "Shut up about blah blah" without the need to specify
> "talking."
> 
> "Shut up talking" sounds very odd to me.
> 
> (Earliest "Shut up!": 1840).
> 
> JL
> 
> On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 8:19 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: "shut up talking"
>> 
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> Normal for me to say, or at least to shout in anger or frustration.
>> 
>> "Shut up" doesn't easily take an object. "Stop talking" has an immediacy
>> that doesn't convey the desire that the topic is not to be brought up
>> again.
>> On Oct 20, 2015 9:29 PM, "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: "shut up talking"
>>> 
>>> 
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> 
>>> On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 6:53 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Fwiw, I've heard "shut up talking..." before.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> So have I. What should a person say, instead? "Don't talk about..."?
>> "Stop
>>> talking about..."? "Peace. Be still about... Does "Shut up talking
>>> about..." really strike people as an odd construction, even odder than
>>> "splitting" an infinitive with "not"?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> -Wilson
>>> -----
>>> 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
>>> 
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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> 
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