a horse a piece

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Mon Nov 27 20:53:40 UTC 2000

> I am interested in phrases that signify (usually qualitative) similarity
> or equality.  Examples are "a horse a piece", "six of one, half dozen of
> the other", or "the same difference".  I have an (obvious) feeling that
> "a horse a piece" has its origins somewhere in equestrian culture, but
> as a newbie to dialectology, I have not been able to confirm or trace it
> with the resources at my disposal.

I've never heard 'a horse a piece', but I've been thinking about another
item that might fit into this set:  "It's all the same to me."  The
interesting thing about this and "same difference" (well, interesting to
me at least) is that while the speaker is claiming that the things are the
same, they are acknowledging that they are objectively different.  I've
been interested in these phrases for what they indicate about people's
attitudes toward the synonymy of expressions.  (For example, you might
tell me that the phrases in this set mean different things, but it's all
the same to me.)


Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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