[Ads-l] "Shaken, not nodded"

Shawnee Moon moon.shawnee at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 23 12:57:37 EDT 2017


> Subject: Heard on Forensic Files, only on HLN!
> 
> "I asked, 'Can you hear me?' And she _shook_ her head up and down, in the
> 'yes' motion."
> 
> Well, that's no worse than "frontslash" and "forward slash,"....
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 I guess "shaking" as the obverse to "nodding" is applicable when referring to body language, but when one shakes another's beer for a collegiate prank, it is done in an up and down motion, so shaking isn't limited to back and forth.
In writing, it certainly provides more clarity in yes or no answers.

"Are you okay?"
~She nodded her head.
~She shook her head. 

'Tis why language fascinates me; most other uses of shake and shook are not specific, you "shake hands" which is generally an up and down movement, a dog shakes water off, which is a centripetal movement, and when faced with adversity, we can "shake it off," which isn't a movement at all, but an attitude. You can put the ol' lampshade on your head to shake up a dull party. An impatient mother shakes her baby, but that's a to and fro motion. Elvis Presley was all shook up...

Nodding seems to be limited to heads and an up-and-down movement. When you nod off during a boring speech, your chin drops. Zzzzz.

Mailed from the Moon 🌜
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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