[Ads-l] missionary

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Aug 18 11:26:17 EDT 2018

My wife and children insist that they can't tell whether I'm saying
"tourist" or "terrorist", and predict terrible consequences when, on a
trip, someone asks me whether I'm travelling on business, and I say "No,
I'm just here as a ***".


On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 10:36 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> > On Aug 18, 2018, at 10:01 AM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> > Yesterday on MTP Daily, Katy Tur was talking about Eric Prince's proposal
> > that the war in Afghanistan be privatized and referred to the military
> > contractors as "missionaries,"  The last time I heard that slip was in
> July
> > 1967 at the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War (Biafran War).  I was a
> > field linguist in a bible translation program near where one of the first
> > battles was fought and was in jail in Makurdi as a suspected mercenary.
> An
> > army lorry driver came into the police station one evening yelling about
> > "American missionaries" fighting for Biafra.  I remember joking with
> > classmates at UCLA, including Larry, that they pronounced missionary and
> > mercenary the same way, and I was one.
> >
> Indeed.  That was the talk of us linguistics grad students back home at
> UCLA at the time as an object lesson in the hazards of phonological
> merger.  Glad they let you out, Herb!
> L
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list