a horse a piece

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Nov 29 17:35:23 UTC 2000

At 08:53 PM 11/27/00 +0000, you wrote:
> > 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.)

Ditto for "all one"--sounds like a mass noun created out of countables, but
it's really about differences that aren't so different:  "It's all one to
me."  (Can you say "They're all one/all the same to me"?)

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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